Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chad was going through some tough times when I found him...

I found Chad walking alone down the street near a local outdoor mall area.
He was on his way to his storage unit.
"Do you mind sharing your thoughts about God on the radio." I asked.
"Sure...I'll do it." He replied.
Do you have any religious background." I questioned.
"Yes. I left the Baptist faith and converted to Catholicism years ago." He explained.

He shared his heart with me and then Todd Friel
on The Way of the Master Radio on Tuesday and
then Todd shared the Gospel with him.
My good friend Gigi and I prayed for him
before he left. We prayed that God would be the
chief treasure of his life. He was grateful.
When we were about to leave, it seemed like he was tearing up
and I think Gigi and I were about to tear up too.

To listen to the broadcast click here:
November 11, 2008 - Hour 1
It starts about 40 minutes in to the hour.

15 comments:

Melissa Spence said...

Todd said, "he should've stayed baptist then...sorry!" (followed with laughter). I was so saddened to hear this descending statement by Todd and interview...clearly showed that your ministry still believes in misconceptions of Catholicism. I pray just like you pointed out to a woman open to listening of her misconceptions (in your following post), that you open yourself to the possibilities that you have misconceptions too.

I found it absurd of Todd's advice to this man to "jump churches" claiming the present church he attends does not teach correctly how to be saved. Yet this man of Catholic faith answered Todd's question with an acceptable answer when asked, "how were you saved?". The man spoke of repentance, and Todd said he was "really warm" then Todd asked, "have you put your trust in Jesus and Him alone?" And the man's answer was "Yes". Then Todd goes on with "preaching" his need to leave that church (clearly showing his misunderstanding of the Catholic teachings). What awful, awful advice. Hhhmmm, so did it surprise all of you that a Catholic answered the question on salvation correctly according to your beliefs? Can you be open to the possibility that this man learned that from his "Catholic faith"!?

"Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works." (JD 15 - on the doctrine of Justification between Lutherans & Catholics)

Trish, I urge you and Todd when you have some free time to google and read up or listen to the interviews on the conversion stories of Steve Ray and former Baptist ministers which can be found on The Journey Home show on the CHNetwork. Many of them living the Baptist faith for 30+ years when surprising themselves by converting to Catholicism.

Peace be with you. And have a nice weekend.

Javier said...

Todd said, "he should've stayed baptist then...sorry!" (followed with laughter). I was so saddened to hear this descending statement by Todd and interview...clearly showed that your ministry still believes in misconceptions of Catholicism.

What misconceptions?

I pray just like you pointed out to a woman open to listening of her misconceptions (in your following post), that you open yourself to the possibilities that you have misconceptions too.

Have you prayed that you open yourself to the possiblity that you may have misconceptions regarding the Protestant faith? Afterall, you seem to suggest we teach the same thing. But don't address the fact that we are still Protestant.

I found it absurd of Todd's advice to this man to "jump churches" claiming the present church he attends does not teach correctly how to be saved.

I find it absurd that you find what Todd said absurd. He's being consistent with his convictions. Rome teaches a false Gospel, therefore the man should find a true Church which teaches a true Gospel.

Yet this man of Catholic faith answered Todd's question with an acceptable answer when asked, "how were you saved?".

Yes, he answered in a Protestant manner demonstrating that he had still retained some of his old Baptist message or was being a Catholic who was inconsistent with his Catholicism.

What awful, awful advice. Hhhmmm, so did it surprise all of you that a Catholic answered the question on salvation correctly according to your beliefs?

No, it didnt surprise me. Afterall, most Catholics, like pop-Evangelicals can't answer basic questions regarding their beliefs. I've had Catholics tell me they didn't really like the Pope, and were not under the Vicar...I had to correct them - as a Protestant.

Secondly, the Catholic didn't answer as a proper Catholic should, demonstrating that his Parish or Church has failed in proper catechesis. Afterall, would someone really be happy that a Catholic sounded like a Protestant? I wouldn't if it were the other way around. For example, if a Protestant was interviewed regarding the place of Mary, the Blessed Mother and starting suggesting that we should offer prayers to the "Mother of God" and spoke of her assumption into heaven, or her immaculate conception I wouldn't be happy that this man represented my Protestant faith. Likewise, if you were a consistent Catholic you'd not like what the man said regarding Rome.


"Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works." (JD 15 - on the doctrine of Justification between Lutherans & Catholics)

Why are you citing liberal Lutherans and Catholics to some Southern Baptists? Notice that the text doesn't mention faith alone. Had Luther been alive, he'd be rebuking these Lutherans viciously. I promise.

Trish, I urge you and Todd when you have some free time to google and read up or listen to the interviews on the conversion stories of Steve Ray and former Baptist ministers which can be found on The Journey Home show on the CHNetwork. Many of them living the Baptist faith for 30+ years when surprising themselves by converting to Catholicism.

Why? Perhaps you should listen to the various Catholic converts to Protestantism? How about Richard Bennet? A former priest who converted after he realized the truth of scripture. Why do Catholics have the lets-throw-converts-at-Prots syndrome?

Take Care Melissa

Melissa Spence said...

Ah Javy, how did I not know you'd be responding to this posting. LOL
I'm not going over the "misconceptions" with you again that would be so redundant. Sigh. When you're on Trish's blog, at the top do a search for Catholic posts, reread all the misconception points I and other Catholics have brought up...and that should answer your question. :)
Sure I've acknowledged that I look at Scripture with "Catholic glasses" on. Will you acknowledge you look at it with "Protestant glasses" on? And I agree there is a difference in "some teachings" but not all. You are "still protestant" because like where the word protestant derives from means: a person who protests. So correct me if I am wrong Javy but did Martin Luther "protest" to all of the Catholic church's teachings or only some of them?
So just because you feel Todd is being consistent with his convictions - I therefore am not allowed to feel he's ever being absurd? It's my personal opinion, and I thought it was allowed to leave here on Trish's blog since she has her posting comments enabled. I found it absurd personally because 1. no Protestant has yet proven to me that Catholicism does not teach the true Gospel and 2. this man clearly demonstrated he knew how he is saved!
Quite hilarious that you're giving his Baptist teachings the credit for answering the question correctly. Trish said on the radio show the man converted to Catholicism 20+ years ago (in the 80's). So basically you're really saying this must be a dumb man for staying with a church for 20 years that doesn't even fit his beliefs...no it could never be possible that Catholicism does in fact teach the true Gospel. Give me a break.
So Javy how should a proper Catholic then answer...since you seem to be so knowledgeable and met so many...oh wait, no you haven't. In fact you've seem to only converse with many cafeteria Catholics as you admitted in your comment.
Nice assumption that this man's parish just isn't teaching proper catechises - your analogy's are starting to become humorous. :)Unlike you whom is anti-Catholic and dooms all of your Catholic Christian brothers and sisters to hell...Catholics lovingly pray for our Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ just as we would for our fellow Catholics.
No the JD I cited said "grace alone in faith in Christ." The Lutherans and Catholics are spot on there. I really could care less if Luther would rebuke it, he's not my Savior. I promise Jesus wouldn't rebuke it.
Sure, I'll gladly read the conversion story of Richard Bennet - I'm open to those sort of things...unlike you. I don't have any syndrome, by offering that suggestion to Trish and Todd it was demonstrating God's loving grace, expressing that I care about them enough to share something that may bring them to the Truth. Or wait should I take your approach and shout at them that they are damned to Hell so they better read these conversion stories and get saved!!! But wait, I simply cannot take that approach because I do not believe that Protestants are going to Hell - I simply feel that they are missing out on the fullness of the Truth Jesus left in his Holy Apostolic Catholic Church.

Trish, for the future please let me know if you do not wish Catholics leave comments on your blog - and I'll refrain from commenting. :)

Javier said...

Sure I've acknowledged that I look at Scripture with "Catholic glasses" on.

Now that you've acknowledged that you read scripture through Catholic glasses, can you tell me. Do you conform your presuppositions to what the scripture says? Or do you continue to assert the authority of an infallible teacher outside of scripture to tell you what the scripture says?

Afterall, even if the scripture says contrary to what the Roman Catholic Church claims you wouldn't know without taking off your glasses.

Will you acknowledge you look at it with "Protestant glasses" on?

Yes. The only difference is that Protestants don't need an infallible authority to understand the clear teachings of God in the scripture.

And I agree there is a difference in "some teachings" but not all.

I agree.

So correct me if I am wrong Javy but did Martin Luther "protest" to all of the Catholic church's teachings or only some of them?

No. He did not.

So just because you feel Todd is being consistent with his convictions - I therefore am not allowed to feel he's ever being absurd?

If Todd holds to Protestant convictions why is it absurd that he suggest the man find a non-Roman Catholic church?

It's my personal opinion, and I thought it was allowed to leave here on Trish's blog since she has her posting comments enabled.

Of course we're all allowed our own opinions. Now matter how nonsensical.

In fact you've seem to only converse with many cafeteria Catholics as you admitted in your comment.

Sure. I don't look for them, they come to me whether it be in evangelism or just at work.

Unlike you whom is anti-Catholic and dooms all of your Catholic Christian brothers and sisters to hell...

Consistent Catholics are outside the true Church. Why is this so hard to understand?

You obviously don't see the necessity to believe in justification by faith alone. We are dogmatic as Protestants about this, which is why you are anathema according to the scripture.

No the JD I cited said "grace alone in faith in Christ." The Lutherans and Catholics are spot on there.

Do you know anything about Lutherans? I promise you that the evangelical Lutherans like the WLS, or LCMS would deny this confession. Why? Because Luther was big on Sola Fide.

I really could care less if Luther would rebuke it, he's not my Savior. I promise Jesus wouldn't rebuke it.

I'm sure you don't care about Luther, but the Lutherans do.

Melissa Spence said...

Javy said, "You obviously don't see the necessity to believe in justification by faith alone. We are dogmatic as Protestants about this, which is why you are anathema according to the scripture"...According to YOUR interpretation of the Scripture, which I find problematic and disagree with.

Came across an interesting read on Justification Javy...

Justification (Lat. justificatio; Gr. SLKatwvts), a biblio-ecclesiastieal term, which denotes the transforming of the sinner from the state of unrighteousness to the state of holiness and sonship of God. Considered as an act (actus justifications), justification is the work of God alone, presupposing, however, on the part of the adult the process of justification and the cooperation of his free will with God's preventing and helping grace (gratia proeveniens et cooperans). Considered as a state or habit (habitus justificationis), it denotes the continued possession of a quality inherent in the soul, which theologians aptly term sanctifying grace. Since the sixteenth century great differences have existed between Protestants and Catholics regarding the true nature of justification.

I. THE PROTESTANT DOCTRINE ON JUSTIFICATION.—The ideas on which the Reformers built their system of justification, except perhaps fiduciary faith, were by no means really original. They had been conceived long before either by heretics of the earlier centuries or by isolated Catholic theologians and had been quietly scattered as the seed of future heresies. It was especially the representatives of Antinomianism (q.v.) during the Apostolic times who welcomed the idea that faith alone suffices for justification, and that consequently the observance of the moral law is not necessary either as a prerequisite for obtaining justification or as a means for preserving it.

It cannot be denied that in the Middle Ages there were a few Catholic theologians among the Nominalists (Occam, Durandus, Gabriel Biel), who went so far in exaggerating the value of good works in the matter of justification that the efficiency and dignity of Divine grace was unduly relegated to the background. Of late, Fathers Denifle and Weiss have shown that Martin Luther was acquainted almost exclusively with the theology of these Nominalists, which he naturally and justly found repugnant, and that the "Summa" of St. Thomas and the works of other great theologians were practically unknown to him. Even Ritschl ("Christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung and Versöhnung", I, 3rd ed., Bonn, 1889, pp. 105, 117) admits that neither the Church in her official teaching nor the majority of her theologians ever sanctioned, much less adopted, the extreme views of the Nominalists. Nevertheless it was not a healthy reaction against Nominalism, but Luther's own state of conscience that caused his change of views. Frightened, tormented, worn out by constant reflexions on his own sinfulness, he had finally found, even before 1517, relief and consolation only in the thought that man cannot overcome concupiscence and that sin itself is a necessity. This thought naturally led him to a consideration of the fall of man and its consequences. Original sin has so completely destroyed our likeness to God and our moral faculties in the natural order, that our will has lost its freedom regarding works morally good or bad, and we are consequently condemned to commit sin in every action.

What then is the part assigned to faith in justification? According to Luther (and Calvin also), the faith that justifies is not, as the Catholic Church teaches, a firm belief in God's revealed truths and promises (fides theoretica, dogmatica), but is the infallible conviction (fides fiducialis, fiducia) that God for the sake of Christ will no longer impute to us our sins, but will consider and treat us, as if we were really just and holy, although in our inner selves we remain the same sinners as before. Cf. Solid. Declar. III, § 15: "Through the obedience of Christ by faith the just are so declared and reputed, although by reason of their corrupt nature they still are and remain sinners as long as they bear this mortal body." This so-called "fiduciary faith" is not a religious-moral preparation of the soul for sanctifying grace, nor a free act of cooperation on the part of the sinner; it is merely a means or spiritual instrument (instrumentum, Greek: organonleptikon) granted by God to assist the sinner in laying hold of the righteousness of God, thereby to cover his sins in a purely external manner as with a mantle. For this reason the Lutheran formularies of belief lay great stress on the doctrine that our entire righteousness does not intrinsically belong to us, but is something altogether exterior. Cf. Solid. Declar., § 48: "It is settled beyond question that our justice is to be sought wholly outside of ourselves and that it consists entirely in our Lord Jesus Christ." The contrast between Protestant and Catholic doctrine here becomes very striking. For according to the teaching of the Catholic Church the righteousness and sanctity which justification confers, although given to us by God as efficient cause (causa efficiens) and merited by Christ as meritorious cause (causa meritoria), become an interior sanctifying quality or formal cause (causa formalis) in the soul itself, which it makes truly just and holy in the sight of God. In the Protestant system, however, remission of sin is no real forgiveness, no blotting out of guilt. Sin is merely cloaked and concealed by the imputed merits of Christ; God no longer imputes it, whilst in reality it continues under cover its miserable existence till the hour of death.

The Lutheran (and Calvinistic) doctrine on justification reaches its climax in the assertion that "fiduciary faith", as described above, is the only requisite for justification (sola fides justificat). As long as the sinner with the "arm of faith" firmly clings to Christ, he is and will ever remain regenerated, pleasing to God, the child of God and heir to heaven. Faith, which alone can justify, is also the only requisite and means of obtaining salvation. Neither repentance nor penance, neither love of God nor good works, nor any other virtue is required, though in the just they may either attend or follow as a result of justification. (Cf. Solid. Declar, § 23: "Indeed, neither contrition nor love nor any other virtue, but faith alone is the means by which we can reach forth and obtain the grace of God, the merit of Christ and the remission of sin.") It is well known that Luther in his German translation of the Bible falsified Rom., iii, 28, by interpolating the word "alone" (by faith alone), and to his critics gave the famous answer: "Dr. Martin Luther wants it that way, and says: `Papist and ass are the same thing: sic volo, sic jubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas '."

Since neither charity nor good works contribute anything towards justification—inasmuch as faith alone justifies—their absence subsequently cannot deprive the just man of anything whatever. There is only one thing that might possibly divest him of justification, namely, the loss of fiduciary faith or of faith in general. From this point of view we get a psychological explanation of numerous objectionable passages in Luther's writings, against which even Protestants with deep moral sense, such as Hugo Grotius and George Bull, earnestly protested. Thus we find in one of Luther's letters, written to Melanchthon in 1521, the following sentence: "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ more strongly, who triumphed over sin, death, and the world; as long as we live here, we must sin." Could anyone do more to degrade St. Paul's concept of justification than Luther did in the following blasphemy: "If adultery could be committed in faith, it would not be a sin "? (Cf. Möhler, "Symbolik",§16.)

From what has been said it is obvious that justification as understood by Protestants, presents the following qualities: its absolute certainty (certitudo), its equality in all (oequalitas), and finally the impossibility of ever losing it (inamissibilitas). For if it be essential to fiduciary faith that it infallibly assures the sinner of his own justification, it cannot mean anything but a firm conviction of the actual possession of grace. If, moreover, the sinner be justified, not by an interior righteousness capable of increase or decrease, but through God's sanctity eternally the same, it is evident that all the just from the common mortal to the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary possess one and the same degree of righteousness and sanctity. Finally if, as Luther maintains, only the loss of faith (according to Calvin, not even that) can deprive us of justification, it follows that justification once obtained can never be lost.

The harshness, want of harmony, intrinsic improbability, and contradiction of Holy Writ contained in the system soon brought about a reaction in the very midst of Protestantism. Osiander (d. 1552), at once an enthusiastic admirer of Luther and an independent thinker, emphatically stated (in opposition to Luther and Calvin) that the justifying power of faith consists in a real, intrinsic union of Christ with the soul, an opinion for which, as being Catholic, he was censured freely. Butzer (d. 1551) likewise admits in addition to an "imputed exterior righteousness", the idea of an "inherent righteousness" as a partial factor in justification, thus meeting Catholicism half way. Luther's most dangerous adversary, however, was his friend Melanchthon, who, in his praiseworthy endeavor to smooth over by conciliatory modifications the interior difficulties of this discordant system, laid the foundation for the famous Synergisten-Streit (Synergist Dispute), which was so soon to become embittered. In general it was precisely the denial of man's free will in the moral order, and of the impossibility of his full cooperation with Divine grace that repelled so many followers of Luther.

II. THE CATHOLIC DOCTRINE ON JUSTIFICATION.—We have an authentic explanation of the Catholic doctrine in the famous "Decretum de justification" of the Sixth Session (January 13, 1547) of the Council of Trent, which in sixteen chapters (cf. Denzinger-Bannwart, "Enchir.", nn. 793-810) and thirty-three canons (I. c., 811-43) gives in the clearest manner all necessary information about the process, causes, effects, and qualities of justification.

(I) The Process of Justification (Processus justificationis).—Since justification as an application of the Redemption to the individual presupposes the fall of the entire human race, the Council of Trent quite logically begins with the fundamental statement that original sin has weakened and deflected, but not entirely destroyed or extinguished the freedom of the human will (Trent, sess. VI, cap. is "Liberum arbitrium minime extinctum, viribus licet attenuatum et inclinatum").

(2) The Formal Cause of Justification.—The Council of Trent decreed that the essence of active justification comprises not only forgiveness of sin, but also "sanctification and renovation of the interior man by means of the voluntary acceptation of sanctifying grace and other supernatural gifts" (Trent, 1. c., cap. vii: "Non est sola peccatorum remissio, sed et sanctificatio et renovatio interioris hominis per voluntariam susceptionem gratiae et donorum"). In order to exclude the Protestant idea of a merely forensic absolution and exterior declaration of righteousness, special stress is laid on the fact that we are justified by God's justice, not that whereby He himself is just but that whereby He makes us just, in so far as He bestows on us the gift of His grace which renovates the soul interiorly and adheres to it as the soul's own holiness (Trent, 1. c., cap. vii; "Unica formalis causa [justificationis] est justitia Dei, non qua ipse justus est, sed qua nos justos facit, qua videlicet ab eo donati, renovamur spiritu mentis nostrae: et non modo reputamur, sed vere justi nominamur et sumus, justitiam in nobis recipientes unusquisque suam"). This inner quality of righteousness and sanctity is universally termed "sanctifying (or habitual) grace", and stands in marked contrast to an exterior, imputed sanctity, as well as to the idea of merely covering and concealing sin. By this, however, we do not assert that the "justitia Dei extra nos" is of no importance in the process of justification. For, even if it is not the formal cause of justification (causa formalis), it is nevertheless its true exemplar (causa exemplaris), inasmuch as the soul receives a sanctity in imitation of God's own holiness.

4) The Qualities of Justification.—We have seen that Protestants claim the following three qualities for justification: certainty, equality, the impossibility of ever losing it. Diametrically opposed to these qualities are those defended by the Council of Trent (sess. VI, cap. 9-11): uncertainty (incertitudo), inequality (inoequalitas), amissibility (amissibilitas).

Javy, There was a lot more to this article, but I just mainly posted some key points and thought it would be worth sharing with you. If you're interested in reading the entire article I can send you the link.

Javier said...

According to YOUR interpretation of the Scripture, which I find problematic and disagree with.

Oh, right, as opposed to the authority of the Roman magisterium. Perhaps you can tell me, how according to YOUR interpretation you can know what you are reading in the infallible pronouncements of Rome, is the actual meaning of the Roman magisterium regarding justification.

Also, how do you know that what YOU are reading is actually what is meant by the Roman Catholic magisterium? Do you not interpret the Council of Trent similar to how I interpret the Bible? Or maybe you just have a 'phone a pope' lifeline?

I will also have you note that the Roman Catholic Church did not dogmatically define their doctrine of justification until the Council of Trent, making it impossible for anyone to know with certainty what scripture said regarding justification. Afterall, were not all interpretations, at that point (before Trent) simply "YOUR interpretation"?


Since the sixteenth century great differences have existed between Protestants and Catholics regarding the true nature of justification.


And, before the sixteenth century we could not know what the doctrine of justification was because Rome had not dogmatically defined it, and all other attempts would have simply been "YOUR interpretation"?

Javy, There was a lot more to this article, but I just mainly posted some key points and thought it would be worth sharing with you. If you're interested in reading the entire article I can send you the link.

Well, thanks for the post, but what is your point in cutting and pasting these things?

If anything, they are an indictment against your position. Afterall, Trent anathematized the Reformers and people who affirm sola fide and you seem to suggest these things are trivial, unimportant side arguments. They are serious, and eternity depends on it. Please recognize the necessity of repentance and faith alone in Christ. To simply reject faith alone, because somehow Protestants are antinomian is a serious, serious misunderstanding of everything Calvin, and Luther taught.

Melissa Spence said...

Here you go Javy, straight from the Pope from a talk he gave just the other day on Justification.

Comment by Steve Ray: "Pope says Luther was Right - with a Caveat: a warning or caution; admonition.

Pope Benedict has been using his Wednesday audiences to give briliant talks on St. Paul. This week his topic was “On St. Paul and Justification.” In the talk he comments on Luther and says he was correct in his idea of faith alone if it is understood properly. He gives a balanced and precise explanation. The Pope has such a gift of cutting through the tangles to get to the heart of the matter.
He hits the nail right on the head!"

Pope's catechesis below:


On St. Paul and Justification


"To Be Just Means Simply to Be With Christ and in Christ"



VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered during today's general audience in St. Peter's Square.

The Holy Father continued today the cycle of catecheses dedicated to the figure and thought of St. Paul.

* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On the journey we have undertaken under the guidance of St. Paul, we now wish to reflect on a topic that is at the center of the controversies of the century of the Reformation: the issue of justification. How is a man just in the eyes of God? When Paul met the Risen One on the road to Damascus he was a fulfilled man: irreproachable in regard to justice derived from the law (cf. Philippians 3:6); he surpassed many of his contemporaries in the observance of the Mosaic prescriptions and was zealous in upholding the traditions of his forefathers (cf. Galatians 1:14).

The illumination of Damascus changed his life radically: He began to regard all his merits, achievements of a most honest religious career, as "loss" in face of the sublimity of knowledge of Jesus Christ (cf. Philippians 3:8). The Letter to the Philippians gives us a moving testimony of Paul's turning from a justice based on the law and achieved by observance of the prescribed works, to a justice based on faith in Christ: He understood all that up to now had seemed a gain to him was in fact a loss before God, and because of this decided to dedicate his whole life to Jesus Christ (cf. Philippians 3:7). The treasure hidden in the field, and the precious pearl in whose possession he invests everything, were no longer the works of the law, but Jesus Christ, his Lord.
The relationship between Paul and the Risen One is so profound that it impels him to affirm that Christ was not only his life, but his living, to the point that to be able to reach him, even death was a gain (cf. Philippians 1:21). It was not because he did not appreciate life, but because he understood that for him, living no longer had another objective; therefore, he no longer had a desire other than to reach Christ, as in an athletic competition, to be with him always. The Risen One had become the beginning and end of his existence, the reason and goal of his running. Only concern for the growth in faith of those he had evangelized and solicitude for all the Churches he had founded (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:28), induced him to slow down the run toward his only Lord, to wait for his disciples, so that they would be able to run to the goal with him. If in the previous observance of the law he had nothing to reproach himself from the point of view of moral integrity, once overtaken by Christ he preferred not to judge himself (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4), but limited himself to run to conquer the one who had conquered him (cf. Philippians 3:12).
It is precisely because of this personal experience of the relationship with Jesus that Paul places at the center of his Gospel an irreducible opposition between two alternative paths to justice: one based on the works of the law, the other founded on the grace of faith in Christ. The alternative between justice through the works of the law and justice through faith in Christ thus becomes one of the dominant themes that runs through his letters: "We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified" (Galatians 2:15-16).

And, he reaffirms to the Christians of Rome that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24). And he adds: "For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law" (Ibid. 28). Luther translated this point as "justified by faith alone." I will return to this at the end of the catechesis.

First, we must clarify what is the "law" from which we have been freed and what are those "works of the law" that do not justify. Already in the community of Corinth there was the opinion, which will return many times in history, which consisted in thinking that it was a question of the moral law, and that Christian freedom consisted therefore in being free from ethics. So, the words "panta mou estin" (everything is licit for me) circulated in Corinth. It is obvious that this interpretation is erroneous: Christian liberty is not libertinism; the freedom of which St. Paul speaks is not freedom from doing good.
Therefore, what is the meaning of the law from which we have been freed and that does not save? For St. Paul, as well as for all his contemporaries, the word law meant the Torah in its totality, namely, the five books of Moses. In the Pharisaic interpretation, the Torah implied what Paul had studied and made his own, a collection of behaviors extending from an ethical foundation to the ritual and cultural observances that substantially determined the identity of the just man -- particularly circumcision, the observance regarding pure food and general ritual purity, the rules regarding observance of the Sabbath, etc. These behaviors often appear in the debates between Jesus and his contemporaries. All these observances that express a social, cultural and religious identity had come to be singularly important at the time of Hellenistic culture, beginning in the 3rd century B.C.

This culture, which had become the universal culture of the time, was a seemingly rational culture, an apparently tolerant polytheist culture, which constituted a strong pressure toward cultural uniformity and thus threatened the identity of Israel, which was politically obliged to enter into this common identity of Hellenistic culture with the consequent loss of its own identity, loss hence also of the precious inheritance of the faith of their Fathers, of faith in the one God and in God's promises.
Against this cultural pressure, which not only threatened Jewish identity but also faith in the one God and his promises, it was necessary to create a wall of distinction, a defense shield that would protect the precious inheritance of the faith; this wall would consist precisely of the Jewish observances and prescriptions. Paul, who had learned these observances precisely in their defensive function of the gift of God, of the inheritance of the faith in only one God, saw this identity threatened by the freedom of Christians: That is why he persecuted them. At the moment of his encounter with the Risen One he understood that with Christ's resurrection the situation had changed radically. With Christ, the God of Israel, the only true God became the God of all peoples.

The wall -- so says the Letter to the Ephesians -- between Israel and the pagans was no longer necessary: It is Christ who protects us against polytheism and all its deviations; it is Christ who unites us with and in the one God; it is Christ who guarantees our true identity in the diversity of cultures; and it is he who makes us just. To be just means simply to be with Christ and in Christ. And this suffices. Other observances are no longer necessary.

That is why Luther's expression "sola fide" is true if faith is not opposed to charity, to love. Faith is to look at Christ, to entrust oneself to Christ, to be united to Christ, to be conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence, to believe is to be conformed to Christ and to enter into his love. That is why, in the Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul develops above all his doctrine on justification; he speaks of faith that operates through charity (cf. Galatians 5:14).
Paul knows that in the double love of God and neighbor the whole law is fulfilled. Thus the whole law is observed in communion with Christ, in faith that creates charity. We are just when we enter into communion with Christ, who is love. We will see the same in next Sunday's Gospel for the solemnity of Christ the King. It is the Gospel of the judge whose sole criterion is love. What I ask is only this: Did you visit me when I was sick? When I was in prison? Did you feed me when I was hungry, clothe me when I was naked? So justice is decided in charity. Thus, at the end of this Gospel, we can say: love alone, charity alone. However, there is no contradiction between this Gospel and St. Paul. It is the same vision, the one according to which communion with Christ, faith in Christ, creates charity. And charity is the realization of communion with Christ. Thus, being united to him we are just, and in no other way.
At the end, we can only pray to the Lord so that he will help us to believe. To really believe; belief thus becomes life, unity with Christ, the transformation of our life. And thus, transformed by his love, by love of God and neighbor, we can really be just in the eyes of God.
[Translation by ZENIT]

[At the end of the Audience, Benedict XVI greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on St. Paul, we now consider his teaching on our justification. Paul’s experience of the Risen Lord on the road to Damascus led him to see that it is only by faith in Christ, and not by any merit of our own, that we are made righteous before God. Our justification in Christ is thus God’s gracious gift, revealed in the mystery of the Cross. Christ died in order to become our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (cf. 1 Cor 1:30), and we in turn, justified by faith, have become in him the very righteousness of God (cf. 2 Cor 5:21). In the light of the Cross and its gifts of reconciliation and new life in the Spirit, Paul rejected a righteousness based on the Law and its works.

For the Apostle, the Mosaic Law, as an irrevocable gift of God to Israel, is not abrogated but relativized, since it is only by faith in God’s promises to Abraham, now fulfilled in Christ, that we receive the grace of justification and new life. The Law finds its end in Christ (cf. Rom 10:4) and its fulfilment in the new commandment of love. With Paul, then, let us make the Cross of Christ our only boast (cf. Gal 6:14), and give thanks for the grace which has made us members of Christ’s Body, which is the Church.

I am pleased to greet the participants in the international Catholic Scouting Conference meeting in Rome. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from England, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, South Africa and the United States, I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.
© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Javy why do you always feel the need to emphasize "Roman" as in the Roman Catholic Church or the Roman magisterium? Here's a good quote for you, "Rome is not the primitive Church. Rome is a city inside of Italy. The Catholic Church is the primitive Church, and the Catholic Church was always centered in Rome."

To answer your question about the doctrine on Justification before the 16th century and who defined it or interpereted it correctly before then, think about these questions taken from a quote of an article I just pasted today on your James White blog posting...
"What is "the truth" according to Protestantism? James White can only tell us his version of the truth and his version of the doctrines of Protestantism. There is no such thing as "the truth" in Protestantism. That is the one truth of Protestant doctrine and theology: that no one knows what "the truth" is in Protestantism. James can tell us what he believes is "the truth" but any Protestant (according to sola scriptura) is allowed to reject his truth from their interpretation, understanding, and viewpoint of Scripture."

So I believe before the 16th century the HOLY SPIRIT WORKING THROUGH the Catholic Church (this is important here, I'm not giving credit to "men" but the Holy Spirit working through the men) taught and interpereted what Scripture said about Justification. How do I know it's true, because Scripture, Tradition and the Early Church Fathers all have shown and supported this to us.

Javier said...

Melissa,

Comment by Steve Ray: "Pope says Luther was Right - with a Caveat: a warning or caution; admonition.

Pope Benedict has been using his Wednesday audiences to give briliant talks on St. Paul. This week his topic was “On St. Paul and Justification.” In the talk he comments on Luther and says he was correct in his idea of faith alone if it is understood properly. He gives a balanced and precise explanation. The Pope has such a gift of cutting through the tangles to get to the heart of the matter.
He hits the nail right on the head!"


No, what the Pope has a good way of doing is redefining the doctrine. Thats not what sola fide means at all. He's redefining it to fit the catholic understanding. When a Christian affirms sola fide, he believes that by faith alone a man is justified before God, the merits of Christ, which are imputed to his account, that the sins of men who have faith alone in Christ are imputed to Christ, so that he suffers all the punishment for their sin on the cross.

The Roman Catholic catechism denies this, as does the Council of Trent, therefore the Pope is being equivocal and in error.

Javy why do you always feel the need to emphasize "Roman" as in the Roman Catholic Church or the Roman magisterium? Here's a good quote for you, "Rome is not the primitive Church. Rome is a city inside of Italy. The Catholic Church is the primitive Church, and the Catholic Church was always centered in Rome."

Wrong. Rome is not where the Church was centered. The Early Church was centered in Jerusalem not Rome.

To answer your question about the doctrine on Justification before the 16th century and who defined it or interpereted it correctly before then, think about these questions taken from a quote of an article I just pasted today on your James White blog posting...

First of all, you're not answering my questions. You're just giving me more questions.

"What is "the truth" according to Protestantism? James White can only tell us his version of the truth and his version of the doctrines of Protestantism.

This is absurd. What is the truth in Romanism? Liberal Catholic Theologian Y can tell you his version or interpretation of Catholic dogmas, and Liberal Catholic Theologian Z can you tell you his version, Tim Staples and his Catholc cohorts can tell you their version. None can amount to establishing any truth if they cannot rely on their own private interpretation of Catholic documents without the 'infallible' aid of a Pope.

There is no such thing as "the truth" in Protestantism. That is the one truth of Protestant doctrine and theology: that no one knows what "the truth" is in Protestantism. James can tell us what he believes is "the truth" but any Protestant (according to sola scriptura) is allowed to reject his truth from their interpretation, understanding, and viewpoint of Scripture."

And how does one Roman Bishop solve this? Apparently the argument relies on the ability to interpret the scripture, it is then assumed that the Pope clarifies the scripture. Yet the Pope clarifised scripture by placing things into writing for latter generations which will not exist during his time eliminating all ability to know the truth because they, the Roman Catholic interpreter still has to interpret the words of the infallible Pope...please tell me you're readin what I'm typing. Please.


So I believe before the 16th century the HOLY SPIRIT WORKING THROUGH the Catholic Church (this is important here, I'm not giving credit to "men" but the Holy Spirit working through the men) taught and interpereted what Scripture said about Justification. How do I know it's true, because Scripture, Tradition and the Early Church Fathers all have shown and supported this to us.

Well, it doesn't matter what you believe. Afterall, the Church hadn't dogmatically defined any doctrine of justification. So people couldn't know how to be saved with certainity until the sixteenth century, moreover, people couldn't know what the Bible was with certainity until the sixteenth century, making it impossible for people to be saved because the ROman Catholic Church hadn't dogmatically defined the canon, or doctrine of justification. They can't know what to read to be saved? Is this what your position leads to?

I'll keep my protestant theology, my clearly spoken God, my amazing savior who justifies me by faith alone, and my clear Bible.

You keep your infallble dogmas, confusing papal encyclicals, and skepticism.

Melissa Spence said...

Papal Infallibility cannot be used to change existing doctrines or proclaim new ones. It can only be used to confirm or clarify what has always been taught. Javy you seem to still misunderstand Papal Infallibility. The teachings of Christ cannot change. As the Scripture says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Infallibility does not guarantee that a pope will officially teach anything. However, when he does teach he is protected. If he decides to teach the truth, the Holy Spirit allows it. If he decides to teach error, either knowingly or unknowingly, the Holy Spirit will stop him. Infallibility is not something that endows a pope with divine powers, but rather it is a gift of the Holy Spirit that protects the Church from the human frailties of a pope. So when Pope Benedict XVI spoke the other day on Justification, it was the Holy Spirit allowing it.

Jerusalem may have been the birthplace of the Church Jesus established and a focal point during that first century (up until the Bar Kokhba revolt) but Rome was were the Early Church was centered for the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The Early Church being the three centuries between the Crucifixion of Jesus and the First Council of Nicaea.

"None can amount to establishing any truth if they cannot rely on their own private interpretation of Catholic documents without the 'infallible' aid of a Pope." YES that's correct you're finally getting it, the Pope is our aid for interpreting Scripture which then in turn develops Catholic doctrines! It was Jesus' gift to all of mankind, to establish an authoritative physical Church to guide His flock!

"Yet the Pope clarifised scripture by placing things into writing for latter generations which will not exist during his time eliminating all ability to know the truth because they, the Roman Catholic interpreter still has to interpret the words of the infallible Pope...please tell me you're readin what I'm typing. Please."
That is nonsensical, how would a former Popes writings eliminate all ability for future generations to know the truth? Thanks to Apostolic Succesion there will always be a current Pope with whom the HOLY SPIRIT is working through to guide the living flock. That is why it is illogical of non-Catholics to base/form their opinion on the Catholic church from reading writings/doctrines (especially out of context and not knowing the history of that time period) of the past on their OWN...don't you see by now that if you accepted the aid/guide of the Holy Spirit whom works through the one Holy Apostolic Catholic Church then you would make your understandings through a different light?

I find it sad to think that you believe before the sixteenth century Christians never knew the Word of God or how to be saved. If it wasn't for the Church whom taught the Gospel all those Christians would've been lost, thankfully I believe they weren't.

"I'll keep my protestant theology, my clearly spoken God, my amazing savior who justifies me by faith alone, and my clear Bible." I assume by the word "clear" you define that to mean: easy to understand, easily seen, without ambiguity, evident, plain??? I find that logic incomprehensible..first with the fact that there are over 1 billion illiterate people in this world. And second with the fact that there are 2600 groups today who lay claim to being the Church, or at least the direct descendants of the Church described in the New Testament. Repeat: 2600! Javy even in the times of Jesus, those men close to him had a hard time understanding...it's not as clear-cut, black & white as you perceive it to be - God knew this would be and again that is why He established an authoritative physical church here on Earth to help guide all of man.

Javy pray for God to guide you to the FULLNESS of His Truth...and don't be so surprised if one day in the future that leads you to the Catholic church. Until then I truly believe you have come to know most of His Truth, but just are not partaking in the fullness of it.

Javier said...

Papal Infallibility cannot be used to change existing doctrines or proclaim new ones.

You're not answering what I said. Let me make it a little more clear for you, the Catholic arguments they are from interpretation as I have said more than once already, you have the same problem when it comes to papal bulls, decision of councils or any document that defines dogma. Since you argue that my interpretation is problematic on the basis that its my interpretation than you must demonstrate how Rome magically clears everything up when you must continue to interpret every infallible document.

I am merely applying the same standards to your position and demonstrating that you are incoherent, and unable to even attack my position since yours crumbles as well. Its a two way street, your damned if you do, and you're damned if you dont.

Javy you seem to still misunderstand Papal Infallibility.

You *seem* to *want* me to misunderstand it, so that you can escape the cold corner you've placed yourself in.

So when Pope Benedict XVI spoke the other day on Justification, it was the Holy Spirit allowing it.

Ma'am, Pope Benedict didn't speak correctly regarding the Protestant doctrine of Sola Fide, in fact he ripped it out of its historical context and redefined it. It was quite disingenous of him.

Jerusalem may have been the birthplace of the Church Jesus established and a focal point during that first century (up until the Bar Kokhba revolt) but Rome was were the Early Church was centered for the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The Early Church being the three centuries between the Crucifixion of Jesus and the First Council of Nicaea.

Even if this were true, the argument is anachrnoistic, Rome today isn't Rome yesterday. And 21st century Romanism is not 1st Century Christianity.

YES that's correct you're finally getting it, the Pope is our aid for interpreting Scripture which then in turn develops Catholic doctrines! It was Jesus' gift to all of mankind, to establish an authoritative physical Church to guide His flock!

I'm obviously speaking to Melissa's wall, because you have not addressed or even sought to answer any of the questions. Perhaps you should refrain from posting on a Protestant blog about your Catholicism when you're unwilling to defend it.

That is nonsensical, how would a former Popes writings eliminate all ability for future generations to know the truth?

Again. The argument was regarding interpretation if the documents have to be interpreted then the Roman Catholic is stuck in the same mire as Protestants are in regard to scripture. The only difference is that you add extra interpretive blockades, you not only have to interpret Marian dogmas from the decrees of x Council, but now you have to interpret those dogmas into scripture where they are not found.

That is why it is illogical of non-Catholics to base/form their opinion on the Catholic church from reading writings/doctrines (especially out of context and not knowing the history of that time period) of the past on their OWN...don't you see by now that if you accepted the aid/guide of the Holy Spirit whom works through the one Holy Apostolic Catholic Church then you would make your understandings through a different light?

Don't you see that you have not addressed any single argument I've given you? Can you address the argument from interpretation at all?

I find it sad to think that you believe before the sixteenth century Christians never knew the Word of God or how to be saved.

I find it sad that you are so inconsistent that you cannot see how absurd your position is. If a Protestant cannot know the Bible without an infallible aid, then the pre-Tridentine Catholic cannot know the Bible even if an infallible aid exists because the infallible aid has not declared, infallibly, what the Bible is.

If it wasn't for the Church whom taught the Gospel all those Christians would've been lost, thankfully I believe they weren't.

Yes, you believe too bad you can't defend.

I find that logic incomprehensible..

Oh? You found logic? I guess this was after you wrote all of the above.

And second with the fact that there are 2600 groups today who lay claim to being the Church,

Of which Rome is one

Melissa Spence said...

Javier, I'm sorry my answers are not the answers you wish to hear. You can continue to just state I am being inconsistent or that I am unwilling to defend my Faith to make yourself appear like the winner of this debate but if other readers were to look back on our dialogue they will see I have been consistent in providing evidence to defend Catholicism. What I've come to realize is that you are a victim of circular logic. And there are many Protestants that come on this blog who are afflicted with the same malady. I've been an outsider trying to break through your circle of Bible-only believers to point out your ignorance when you speak on Catholicism. It's clear you are so set in your erroneous interpretation of some Scripture that you would rather have the Scripture contradict itself than admit your interpretation is wrong. There are hundreds if not thousands of Bible-only churches that disagree with each other on just about everything, and some very important matters at that, like Justification. So which Bible-only church is right and which is wrong?...which church has the correct doctrines and dogmas? Do you determine the right one to be the church with a pastor that is a Master's graduate and had Biblical training like Trish just recently posted about "finding a good church"? Sorry but I find that a dangerous way to determine who is teaching the correct doctrines and dogmas. Jesus didn't make it that troublesome. I'll leave it at that.

On an end note, Trish I hope you and your husband have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We'll be spending an early Christmas celebration with Mark & Laura's family in CA in a few weeks. Happy Thanksgiving to you too Javy. I'm thankful for a lot of things, and surprisingly I am thankful for the dialogues I've had on this blog. Leaving y'all with a Thanksgiving Prayer:

This Thanksgiving let those of us who have much and those who have little gather at the welcoming table of the Lord. At this blessed feast, may rich and poor alike remember that we are called to serve on another and to walk together in God's gracious world. With thankful hearts we praise our God who like a loving parent denies us no good thing.

Today and every day, it pleases God for us to sit as brothers and sisters as we share the bounty of the earth and the grace God has placed in each blessed soul. For this we all give thanks and praise to our loving and gracious God.

Javier said...

What I've come to realize is that you are a victim of circular logic. And there are many Protestants that come on this blog who are afflicted with the same malady.

Firstly, philosophically speaking all systems are circular, there is no escaping it. The issue is not circularity, because some circularity only leads to a consistent worldview. The issues does your system save itself from internal critique. It doesn't.

If you claim I'm circular, you destroy your own position. Because, the Roman Catholic Church claims its the true Church on the basis of its infallible pronouncements and dogmas. Yet, we cannot know it, unless we accept the Church, and how do we know the Church is the Church? Because the Church says its the Church. So, you are stuck in the same circularity, however the Church claims that it has divine scripture on its side, yet scripture denies the Church so that the Church stands alone and is merely a human institution with high and lofty, nonsensical claims.

It's clear you are so set in your erroneous interpretation of some Scripture that you would rather have the Scripture contradict itself than admit your interpretation is wrong.

Its clear you are so set in assenting to the dogmatic claims of the Roman Catholic Church that you are unwilling to *think* regarding what the scripture says.

There are hundreds if not thousands of Bible-only churches that disagree with each other on just about everything, and some very important matters at that, like Justification.

There are hundred if not thousands of Roman Catholic Churches that disagree on just about everything (liberal and traditionalist), and some very important matters. Listen to a few minutes of Catholic Answers Live, and you tell me that the Catholics calling in worried that their pastor is teaching error is not parallel to the Protestant disagreement over certain doctrines. You are not free to argue this on the basis that Rome is united, because Rome is as divided. Secondly as Protestants, we can gather and debate these issues, because we are together in the Gospel.

So which Bible-only church is right and which is wrong?...which church has the correct doctrines and dogmas?

Not the Roman one. Why do you seem to imply that somehow your Church isn't merely one of the many that lay claims to being the true Church? Does not the Roman Catholic Church recognize the legitimacy of the Eastern Orthodoxy? Do they not claim the exact same thing? How do you know your Church is the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church? You dont. Unless Rome tells you, its circular.

Do you determine the right one to be the church with a pastor that is a Master's graduate and had Biblical training like Trish just recently posted about "finding a good church"?

Of course not

We determine the true Church to be the one who ordains priests, who is under the Vicar of Christ, and has existed for 2000 years.

Please tell me you see how many assumptions your bring to the table. You cannot assume Rome and then attack a Protestant means of ordaining Elders. God determines what Church I belong to, as God in Acts added to the church by the thousands.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too Javy. I'm thankful for a lot of things, and surprisingly I am thankful for the dialogues I've had on this blog. Leaving y'all with a Thanksgiving Prayer:

If anything Melissa, consider this practice and sharpening of your Roman Catholic defense. Happy Thanksgiving.

Its my hope you repent and believe the Gospel of grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone. If not, you know the eternal ends of all who deny this.

Melissa Spence said...

"If you claim I'm circular, you destroy your own position. Because, the Roman Catholic Church claims its the true Church on the basis of its infallible pronouncements and dogmas. Yet, we cannot know it, unless we accept the Church, and how do we know the Church is the Church? Because the Church says its the Church."

No Javy not because the Church says it's the Church BUT because Jesus said it's the Church! Matt. 16:18 And the Roman Catholic Church is the only ONE church with an unbroken apostolic succession from Peter all the way to Benedict XVI today.

Now I understand that many Bible-only Christians whom oppose the authority of the Magisterium interpret Matt. 16:18 to mean that Jesus was referring to Peter's FAITH instead of Peter himself when they translate that through Greek. However, Jesus didn't speak Greek to Peter. I supposed He could have, but Peter wouldn't have understood him. Peter and the author of this text, Matthew spoke Aramaic.

"So, you are stuck in the same circularity, however the Church claims that it has divine scripture on its side, yet scripture denies the Church so that the Church stands alone and is merely a human institution with high and lofty, nonsensical claims."
Show me where Scripture denies the Church Javy. The Catholic church does not stand alone and is not a human constitution, it's proven in Scripture that Jesus appointed Peter to be His representative of His church here on Earth:

(the following was written by a poster named Daver)
Peter is the Rock on which the Church is Built
Mark 3:16; John 1:42 – Jesus renames Simon "Kepha" in Aramaic which literally means "rock." This was an extraordinary thing for Jesus to do, because "rock" was not even a name in Jesus' time. Jesus did this, not to give Simon a strange name, but to identify his new status among the apostles. When God changes a person's name, He changes their status.

Gen. 17:5; 32:28; 2 Kings 23:34; Acts 9:4; 13:9 - for example, in these verses, we see that God changes the following people's names and, as a result, they become special agents of God: Abram to Abraham; Jacob to Israel, Eliakim to Jehoiakim, Saul to Paul.

2 Sam. 22:2-3, 32, 47; 23:3; Psalm 18:2,31,46; 19:4; 28:1; 42:9; 62:2,6,7; 89:26; 94:22; 144:1-2 - in these verses, God is also called "rock." Hence, from these verses, non-Catholics often argue that God, and not Peter, is the rock that Jesus is referring to in Matt. 16:18. This argument not only ignores the plain meaning of the applicable texts, but also assumes words used in Scripture can only have one meaning. This, of course, is not true. For example:

1 Cor. 3:11 - Jesus is called the only foundation of the Church, and yet in Eph. 2:20, the apostles are called the foundation of the Church. Similarly, in 1 Peter 2:25, Jesus is called the Shepherd of the flock, but in Acts 20:28, the apostles are called the shepherds of the flock. These verses show that there are multiple metaphors for the Church, and that words used by the inspired writers of Scripture can have various meanings. Catholics agree that God is the rock of the Church, but this does not mean He cannot confer this distinction upon Peter as well, to facilitate the unity He desires for the Church.

Matt. 16:18 - Jesus said in Aramaic, you are "Kepha" and on this "Kepha" I will build my Church. In Aramaic, "kepha" means a massive stone, and "evna" means little pebble. Some non-Catholics argue that, because the Greek word for rock is "petra", that "Petros" actually means "a small rock", and therefore Jesus was attempting to diminish Peter right after blessing him by calling him a small rock. Not only is this nonsensical in the context of Jesus' blessing of Peter, Jesus was speaking Aramaic and used "Kepha," not "evna." Using Petros to translate Kepha was done simply to reflect the masculine noun of Peter.

Moreover, if the translator wanted to identify Peter as the "small rock," he would have used "lithos" which means a little pebble in Greek. Also, Petros and petra were synonyms at the time the Gospel was written, so any attempt to distinguish the two words is inconsequential. Thus, Jesus called Peter the massive rock, not the little pebble, on which He would build the Church. (You don’t even need Matt. 16:18 to prove Peter is the rock because Jesus renamed Simon “rock” in Mark 3:16 and John 1:42!).

Matt. 16:17 - to further demonstrate that Jesus was speaking Aramaic, Jesus says Simon "Bar-Jona." The use of "Bar-Jona" proves that Jesus was speaking Aramaic. In Aramaic, "Bar" means son, and "Jonah" means John or dove (Holy Spirit). See Matt. 27:46 and Mark 15:34 which give another example of Jesus speaking Aramaic as He utters in rabbinical fashion the first verse of Psalm 22 declaring that He is the Christ, the Messiah. This shows that Jesus was indeed speaking Aramaic, as the Jewish people did at that time.

Matt. 16:18 - also, in quoting "on this rock," the Scriptures use the Greek construction "tautee tee" which means on "this" rock; on "this same" rock; or on "this very" rock. "Tautee tee" is a demonstrative construction in Greek, pointing to Peter, the subject of the sentence (and not his confession of faith as some non-Catholics argue) as the very rock on which Jesus builds His Church. The demonstrative (“tautee”) generally refers to its closest antecedent (“Petros”). Also, there is no place in Scripture where “faith” is equated with “rock.”

Matt. 16:18-19 - in addition, to argue that Jesus first blesses Peter for having received divine revelation from the Father, then diminishes him by calling him a small pebble, and then builds him up again by giving him the keys to the kingdom of heaven is entirely illogical, and a gross manipulation of the text to avoid the truth of Peter's leadership in the Church. This is a three-fold blessing of Peter - you are blessed, you are the rock on which I will build my Church, and you will receive the keys to the kingdom of heaven (not you are blessed for receiving Revelation, but you are still an insignificant little pebble, and yet I am going to give you the keys to the kingdom).

Matt. 16:18-19 – to further rebut the Protestant argument that Jesus was speaking about Peter’s confession of faith (not Peter himself) based on the revelation he received, the verses are clear that Jesus, after acknowledging Peter’s receipt of divine revelation, turns the whole discourse to the person of Peter: Blessed are “you” Simon, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to “you,” and I tell “you,” “you” are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church. I will give “you” the keys to the kingdom, and whatever “you” bind and loose on earth will be bound and loosed in heaven. Jesus’ whole discourse relates to the person of Peter, not his confession of faith.

Matt. 16:13 - also, from a geographical perspective, Jesus renames Simon to rock in Caesarea Philippi near a massive rock formation on which Herod built a temple to Caesar. Jesus chose this setting to further emphasize that Peter was indeed the rock on which the Church would be built.

Matt. 7:24 - Jesus, like the wise man, builds His house on the rock (Peter), not on grain of sand (Simon) so the house will not fall.

Luke 6:48 - the house (the Church) built upon the rock (Peter) cannot be shaken by floods (which represent the heresies, schisms, and scandals that the Church has faced over the last 2,000 years). Floods have occurred, but the Church still remains on its solid rock foundation.

Matt. 16:21 - it is also important to note that it was only after Jesus established Peter as leader of the Church that He began to speak of His death and departure. This is because Jesus had now appointed His representative on earth.

John 21:15 - Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus "more than these," referring to the other apostles. Jesus singles Peter out as the leader of the apostolic college.

John 21:15-17 - Jesus selects Peter to be the chief shepherd of the apostles when He says to Peter, "feed my lambs," "tend my sheep," "feed my sheep." Peter will shepherd the Church as Jesus’ representative.

Luke 22:31-32 - Jesus also prays that Peter's faith may not fail and charges Peter to be the one to strengthen the other apostles - "Simon, satan demanded to have you (plural, referring to all the apostles) to sift you (plural) like wheat, but I prayed for you (singular) that your (singular) faith may not fail, and when you (singular) have turned again, strengthen your brethren.

Acts 1,2,3,4,5,8,15 - no one questions Peter's authority to speak for the Church, declare anathemas, and resolve doctrinal debates. Peter is the rock on which the Church is built who feeds Jesus’ sheep and whose faith will not fail.

Peter has the Keys of Authority over the Earthly Kingdom, the Church
2 Sam. 7:16; Psalm 89:3-4; 1 Chron.17:12,14 - God promises to establish the Davidic kingdom forever on earth.

Matt. 1:1 - Matthew clearly establishes this tie of David to Jesus. Jesus is the new King of the new House of David, and the King will assign a chief steward to rule over the house while the King is in heaven.

Luke 1:32 - the archangel Gabriel announces to Mary that her Son would be given "the throne of His father David."

Matt. 16:19 - Jesus gives Peter the "keys of the kingdom of heaven." While most Protestants argue that the kingdom of heaven Jesus was talking about is the eternal state of glory (as if Peter is up in heaven letting people in), the kingdom of heaven Jesus is speaking of actually refers to the Church on earth. In using the term "keys," Jesus was referencing Isaiah 22 (which is the only place in the Bible where keys are used in the context of a kingdom).

Isaiah 22:22 - in the old Davidic kingdom, there were royal ministers who conducted the liturgical worship and bound the people in teaching and doctrine. But there was also a Prime Minister or chief steward of the kingdom who held the keys. Jesus gives Peter these keys to His earthly kingdom, the Church. This representative has decision-making authority over the people - when he shuts, no one opens. See also Job 12:14.

Rev. 1:18; 3:7; 9:1; 20:1 - Jesus' "keys" undeniably represent authority. By using the word "keys," Jesus gives Peter authority on earth over the new Davidic kingdom, and this was not seriously questioned by anyone until the Protestant reformation 1,500 years later after Peter’s investiture.

Matt. 16:19 - whatever Peter binds or looses on earth is bound or loosed in heaven / when the Prime Minister to the King opens, no one shuts. This "binding and loosing" authority allows the keeper of the keys to establish "halakah," or rules of conduct for the members of the kingdom he serves. Peter's "keys" fit into the "gates" of Hades which also represent Peter’s pastoral authority over souls.

Matt. 23:2-4 - the "binding and loosing" terminology used by Jesus was understood by the Jewish people. For example, Jesus said that the Pharisees "bind" heavy burdens but won't move ("loose") them with their fingers. Peter and the apostles have the new binding and loosing authority over the Church of the New Covenant.

Matt. 13:24-52 -Jesus comparing the kingdom of heaven to a field, a mustard seed, leaven, and a net demonstrate that the kingdom Jesus is talking about is the universal Church on earth, not the eternal state of glory. Therefore, the keys to the "kingdom of heaven" refers to the authority over the earthly Church.

Matt. 25:1-2 - Jesus comparing the kingdom of heaven to ten maidens, five of whom were foolish, further shows that the kingdom is the Church on earth. This kingdom cannot refer to the heavenly kingdom because there are no fools in heaven!

Mark 4:26-32 - again, the "kingdom of God" is like the seed which grows and develops. The heavenly kingdom is eternal, so the kingdom to which Peter holds the keys of authority is the earthly Church.

Luke 9:27 - Jesus says that there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the "kingdom of God." This kingdom refers to the earthly kingdom of Christ, which Jesus established by His death and resurrection on earth.

Luke 13:19-20 - again, Jesus says the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed which grew into a tree. This refers to the earthly Church which develops over time, from an acorn to an oak tree (not the heavenly state of glory which is boundless and infinite).

Matt 12:28; Mark 1:15; Luke 11:20; 17:21 - these verses provide more examples of the " kingdom of God" as the kingdom on earth which is in our midst.

1 Chron. 28:5 - Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord. This shows that the "kingdom of God" usually means an earthly kingdom.

1 Chron. 29:23 - Solomon sits on the throne of the Lord as king in place of King David. The throne of God refers to the earthly kingdom.

Matt. 16:19 - Peter holds keys to this new Davidic kingdom and rules while the real King of David (Jesus) is in heaven.

Luke 12:41-42 - when Peter asks Jesus if the parable of the master and the kingdom was meant just for the apostles or for all people, Jesus rhetorically confirms to Peter that Peter is the chief steward over the Master's household of God. "Who then, (Peter) is that faithful and wise steward whom his master will make ruler over His household..?"

Ezek. 37:24-25 - David shall be king over them forever and they will have one shepherd. Jesus is our King, and Peter is our earthly shepherd.

Peter's Keys and Papal Succession
Jer. 33:17 - Jeremiah prophesies that David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the earthly House of Israel. Either this is a false prophecy, or David has a successor of representatives throughout history.

Dan. 2:44 - Daniel prophesies an earthly kingdom that will never be destroyed. Either this is a false prophecy, or the earthly kingdom requires succession.

Isa. 22:20 - in the old Davidic kingdom, Eliakim succeeds Shebna as the chief steward of the household of God. The kingdom employs a mechanism of dynastic succession. King David was dead for centuries, but his kingdom is preserved through a succession of representatives.

Isa. 22:19 - Shebna is described as having an "office" and a "station." An office, in order for it to be an office, has successors. In order for an earthly kingdom to last, a succession of representatives is required. This was the case in the Old Covenant kingdom, and it is the case in the New Covenant kingdom which fulfills the Old Covenant. Jesus our King is in heaven, but He has appointed a chief steward over His household with a plan for a succession of representatives.

Isa. 22:21 - Eliakim is called “father” or “papa” of God's people. The word Pope used by Catholics to describe the chief steward of the earthly kingdom simply means papa or father in Italian. This is why Catholics call the leader of the Church "Pope." The Pope is the father of God's people, the chief steward of the earthly kingdom and Christ's representative on earth.

Isa. 22:22 - we see that the keys of the kingdom pass from Shebna to Eliakim. Thus, the keys are used not only as a symbol of authority, but also to facilitate succession. The keys of Christ's kingdom have passed from Peter to Linus all the way to our current Pope with an unbroken lineage for almost 2,000 years.

Acts 1:20 - we see in the early Church that successors are immediately chosen for the apostles' offices. Just as the Church replaced Judas, it also replaced Peter with a successor after Peter's death.

John 21:15-17; Luke 22:31-32 - Jesus' creation of Peter's office as chief shepherd with the keys passed to Linus, Cletus, Clement I, all the way to our current Holy Father.

Matt. 23:2 - this shows that the Jews understood the importance of succession to the chair and its attendant authority. Here, Jesus respects Moses' seat ("cathedra") of authority which was preserved by succession. In the Church, Peter's seat is called the "cathedra," and when Peter's successor speaks officially on a matter of faith or morals, it may rise to the level of an "ex cathedra" (from the chair) teaching.

Eph. 3:21 - this divine word tells us that Jesus Christ's Church will exist in all generations. Only the Catholic Church can prove by succession such existence. Our Protestant brothers and sisters become uncomfortable with this passage because it requires them to look for a Church that has existed for over 2,000 years. This means that all the other Christian denominations (some of which have been around even less than one year!) cannot be the church that Christ built upon the rock of Peter.

"God determines what Church I belong to, as God in Acts added to the church by the thousands."
Javy then why does God often have Protestants "jump churches"?

"Its my hope you repent and believe the Gospel of grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone. If not, you know the eternal ends of all who deny this."
Javy all of a sudden you use the term "Grace Alone"...hhhmmm well I already believe by grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work - so it's not necessary that you hope for this.

Javier said...

No Javy not because the Church says it's the Church BUT because Jesus said it's the Church! Matt. 16:18 And the Roman Catholic Church is the only ONE church with an unbroken apostolic succession from Peter all the way to Benedict XVI today.

How do you know Jesus said this? The Church, and who interprets this passage authoritatively? The Church. Thus you are assenting to the Roman Church demonstrating your circularity. You can't escape circularity Melissa. Its that simple.

Now I understand that many Bible-only Christians whom oppose the authority of the Magisterium interpret Matt. 16:18 to mean that Jesus was referring to Peter's FAITH instead of Peter himself when they translate that through Greek.

Firstly, that position isn't a "Bible-only Christian" position, its a historical position. Some Church fathers held to this position . Also, not all Protestants view this as meaning that Jesus was speaking of Peter's faith, but rather Peter and his faith, but what they don't agree with is that somehow this church means the Roman Catholic Church, you see, you make a huge leap. Why do you do this? Because you believe the Roman Catholic Magisterium, how do you know this? Because the Roman Catholic Magisterium tells you. Again, proving your circularity. The starting point of a Christian worldview is the scripture, this is the Protestant axiom. Rome has muddied the waters, and destroyed the axiom and destroyed the consistency of your faith as well adding to it blasphemous dogmas and doctrines.

However, Jesus didn't speak Greek to Peter. I supposed He could have, but Peter wouldn't have understood him. Peter and the author of this text, Matthew spoke Aramaic.

So says you. There are no manuscripts that support his position do they?

Show me where Scripture denies the Church Javy.

If I showed you, how could you interpret it unless the Roman Catholic Church dogmatically interprets it for you? You wouldn't be convinced because I can't show you, because its only "my" interpretation. Some day you'll see that right now you are offering a defense of the Roman Catholic Church on the basis of your interpretation of what it says.

The Catholic church does not stand alone and is not a human constitution, it's proven in Scripture that Jesus appointed Peter to be His representative of His church here on Earth:

I'm not going to debate the endless scriptures that are cited below. Given the fact that you have already attempted to corner me with the argument that I'm using scripture and interpreting it 'myself' as if I cannot, you are committing the same error and are refuting your previous argument. Has the Roman Catholic Church infallibly interpreted the passages below? If not, then don't use them since you're only pitting 'your' interpretation against my interpretation. Apparently, now, when its convenient, Roman Catholics can interpret the Bible but when Protestants do its just "our private" interpretation.

Javy then why does God often have Protestants "jump churches"?

No idea why. What does this have to do with it? I hope you understand that as a Baptist I can enjoy worship, and communion with Independent Baptists, Presbyterians, Reformed, Anglicans, Assembly of God, Methodists and many others. And we all preach the same Gospel.

Javy all of a sudden you use the term "Grace Alone"...hhhmmm

Get with the program. Sola Gratia is one of the solas of the Reformation.

well I already believe by grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work - so it's not necessary that you hope for this.

You're going to hell if you don't repent, you don't believe by faith alone and rely on your works.

Michael Lofton said...

I am a Catholic who use to listen to Way of the Master and Wretched Radio often, see here for more http://adgloriamecclesiae.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/catholicism-and-way-of-the-masterwretched-radio/

I have noticed that Way of the Master often uses ignorant Catholics as a standard to refute Catholicism and would kindly like to suggest that perhaps it would be better to attempt to refute Catholicism based upon offical publications and documents of the Catholic Church. Indeed there are many ignorant Catholics, just as there are many ingorant Evangelicals, at least in my experience as a former Evangelical/Protestant. Perhaps we should use the best that each faith has to offer when attempting to refute each other.