Roman Catholic and Jewish faith: I don’t want to be alone

“I vant to be alone” – Greta Garbo

Regarding the relationship between faith and works, I received the following comment from a Roman Catholic in response to my Piggy-back into heaven: The Roman Catholic “Treasury of Merit.”

The only time in Scripture that the words “faith” and “alone” appear together is when James 2:24 says, “A man is justified by works and not by “faith alone.”
There is no other place in Scripture where these two words appear together. In fact Paul nor any other NT writer ever said, “We are justified by “faith alone.” Paul never uses the words “faith” or “only” in the same sentence either. Paul uses the word “faith” over 200 times in the Bible, but never with the word “alone.” So if James says, “A man is justified by works and not by “faith alone,” what do we do with this verse of Scripture? Do we just ignore it and continue on with what we want to believe, or what?

First let me get this shoo this canard away: “There is no other place in Scripture where these two words appear together.” And, where does the word “trinity” appear at all, never mind once, in the Bible. As for the assumption of Mary, and indeed the word “purgatory: – nada. That, of course, is not an issue with Roman Catholic theology for the reason that it posits two strands of divine revelation: scripture and tradition.

canard

Now to whether the concept of “faith alone” is in the Bible.

Romans 3:28

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

The biblical view of “faith” is summed up in Ephesians 2:8-10 [my square brackets and italics]:

For by grace you have been saved through faith [in Christ]. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them [be faithful in them). (See Christian and Jewish faith)

But, if Pope Francis is your guide, why bother with the distinction between faith (in Christ) and works at all. Indeed, why bother about faith. Francis is famous for his loving kindness. It lies at the heart of Judaism, going back to Adam himself. The Jewish view is that as long as Adam was alive, God wanted to have an interaction with him. He knew that Adam had the capacity to sin, God knew it was going to happen. That was part of Adam’s struggle. That’s what God wanted. So after Adam made a mistake, God demanded him to love kindness. To love kindness, that’s a state of being that we have constantly to grow into. Adam could certainly have loved kindness more than He did. (Sin in Adam and his descendants).

According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the road to salvation is festooned with acts of loving kindness. It may be, said the Rebbe, your one tiny act of kindness that may bring Messiah (Moshiach). Pope Francis has much in common with Judaism, if not with the real Saint Francis: it’s all about loving kindness, says Pope Francis; salvation is all about loving kindness – good works. Justification (reconciliation with God) says Pope Francis, is no longer about faith AND good works, but solely about works – opera solum (if my Latin is any good). You can be an atheist, says Pope Francis, on condition that you’re good and kind. Well that is what I read on the internet, so it must be true.”

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – The Holy Father is full of surprises, born of true and faithful humility. On Wednesday he declared that all people, not just Catholics, are redeemed through Jesus, even atheists. However, he did emphasize there was a catch. Those people must still do good. In fact, it is in doing good that they are led to the One who is the Source of all that is good. In essence he simply restated the hope of the Church that all come to know God, through His Son Jesus Christ.”

The Vatican, it seems is alarmed, at best; no wonder, because Pope Francis is trashing Trent. Here is Trent:

Session 6, Chapter 8

[I)t is most truly said that faith without works is dead and of no profit, and in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by charity [love].”

Here is how Pope Francis would, I suggest, rework Trent for the loving atheist:

It is most truly said that an atheist without works is dead and will remain dead….unless he worketh by love.” (See Atheism without works is dead, says Pope Francis: Who cares?).

As for the Apostle James’s “faith without works is dead”:

“[W]hen Paul says that a person is justified by faith without works (Rom 3:28), his context makes it clear that he defines faith as something more than passive assent to a viewpoint; he defines it as a conviction that Christ is our salvation, a conviction on which one actively stakes one’s life (Rom 1:5). James declares that one cannot be justified by faith without works (James 2:14)—because he uses the word “faith” to mean mere assent that something is true (2:19), he demands that such assent be actively demonstrated by obedience to show that it is genuine (2:18). In other words, James and Paul use the word “faith” differently, but do not contradict one another on the level of meaning. If we ignore context and merely connect different verses on the basis of similar wording, we will come up with contradictions in the Bible that the original writers would never have imagined. (“Biblical Interpretation” by Craig Keener).

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes:

4 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. 9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (See Faith and Jerks…).

So, are we justified by faith alone where works are its fruit, or we justified by faith and works? I think my Roman Catholic blogger needs to rework, if not reword, his comment. And if you want to eschew those canards, let context be your guide.

Piggy-back into heaven: The Roman Catholic treasury of merit

I was speaking to a Roman Catholic relative who told me that she aims to drag lapsed Catholics and others into heaven on her back. I said to her “You seem to be talking about the Roman Catholic idea of the “treasury of merit.” She kept mum – and also is one.

The “treasury of merit,” is defined by the Roman Catholic Church as:

There is a communion of the saints, (1 Cor. 12, Job 1:5, Col. 1:24, Apostles’ Creed) by which we can aid one another in the Body of Christ through our prayers and sacrifices. All who are joined to Christ by sanctifying grace (and thus are sharers in His divine life) are united into one society by their participation in the one divine life. (See Indulgences, the Treasury of Merit and the Communion of Saints). What does this “aid to one another” mean? Here is the Roman Catholic catechism:

Par. 1476

We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the Church’s treasury, which is “not the sum total of the material goods which have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the ‘treasury of the Church’ is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ’s merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their efficacy.”

Par. 1477

This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.” (Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5).

My Catholic relative intends to (help Christ to?) bring about the salvation of others through 1. the excess of her prayers, 2. the frequent partaking of the eucharist and 3. loving kindness. The Protestant Reformation pivoted around the rejection of the doctrine that good works saves – saves you or those you try to piggy-back into heaven on the excess of your treasure.

My relative is the epitome of lovingkindness, yet, according to the scriptures (if not Pope Francis) those who believe that they can work someone else into heaven are at best grieviously deceived. They have rejected the only mediator and saviour, Jesus Christ. They have rejected the Gospel.

James White’s eternal doctorate: And what’s yours worth?

bography:

Here is a large extract from James White’s “Of doctorates and and Eternity.” http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/1998/06/01/of-doctorates-and-eternity-2/

God srengthen you, dear James. I have learnt much from you.

Here is White:

Many are not familiar with the fact that most Christian schools are desperate to obtain what is known as “accreditation,” the almost magical “acceptance” by a recognized “body” that allows them to attract the largest body of students. The cost of becoming “accredited” is high, often running into the millions of dollars just to be able to offer the most basic courses. Accrediting criteria are pretty much the same for all schools in the United States, whether religious or secular. These have included, for years, the size and location of the library, classroom building availability, staff qualifications, etc. Obviously, new or small schools cannot obtain accreditation very quickly, and any school that wishes to keep its tuition low either has to forgo the privilege, or receive some extremely large donations that can offset the cost.

Obtaining accreditation also allows schools to participate in government loan programs. Education is a high-competition area, and without such programs, many schools are simply unable to compete.

I was raised to believe that “accreditation” equaled “quality,” so that “non-accreditation” meant “no quality.” It was so much a part of the fabric of my thought that it never entered my mind to look outside the established “traditional” accredited schools as far as my own education was concerned. No, I had never really thought about what it meant that some “accrediting” body was, in the final analysis, determining how Christian education should be done. I had never been challenged to think about such things.

After completing a B.A. and an M.A., with honors, in accredited institutions, I entered into fruitful and important ministry. My ministry did not allow for a large amount of remuneration—in other words, we were, like many who seek to honor the Lord in consistently giving an answer for the hope within us, without a lot of monetary support. As I looked into doing doctoral work, I began to put more and more thought into the how’s and why’s of Christian education. While I had been in seminary, I had noted that many of my fellow students were tremendously confused about what they believed, why they were attending seminary, and what they were going to do after they got out. Yet, even in this state of utter confusion, they graduated, now with “degrees” telling the world that they were proficient in….what? I discovered, as any other serious student has discovered, that you get out of a program of study what you put into it. Even when I had professors who truly struggled to communicate, if I would try to understand, and put forth extra effort, I would be rewarded with understanding and growth. I also learned, as many others can testify, that I profited the most when I studied on my own, branching out from class discussions or readings. Many, many vital areas of Christian thought were not addressed at all in my core classes, despite my acquiring over 100 hours of graduate study.

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Detractors Galore

I recognized, when I enrolled with Columbia, that given the nature of my work in apologetics, I’d undoubtedly hear attacks upon my school and my scholarship because Columbia is too young to be “accredited.” Such ad-hominem argumentation is the norm for many of those with whom I have dealings. It wouldn’t matter where I go, or what school I attend, that kind of attack will follow. I have experience teaching in accredited schools, and a Master’s degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. That hasn’t stopped such folks from using ad-hominem argumentation against me. And any person that would be impressed by such argumentation isn’t going to be giving me a fair hearing anyway, and I can’t worry about that. Instead, the person I’m concerned about is the person who will understand the following statement: A person’s scholarship is not determined by the name of the school he or she attended, but by the quality of that person’s writing, speaking, and teaching. Anyone who thinks that just because you went to Yale you must be a real scholar hasn’t put much thought into the subject. I ask only one thing: look at what I have written, all that I have written, and ask yourself one question: does the nature of the writing, the depth of the research, and the understanding of the subject, indicate a doctoral level of education? As I said above, anyone who wishes to question my degree need only stack up his or her published works against mine and demonstrate that I just haven’t done the work. If they can’t, they are reduced to saying that scholarship is determined by how much you spend in tuition. And anyone who believes that isn’t going to be listening very carefully to what I say anyway.

Originally posted on OneDaring Jew:

James White’s blog aomin.org is my favourite, especially his podcast “The Dividing Line.” Alas, owing to the haaaalidays, there have been no podcasts, and so I’ve been feeling rather forlorn.

What I want to talk about here is White’s Doctorate obtained from the unaccredited “Columbia Evangelical Seminary.” (See “Of Doctorates and eternity”

Before I talk about the besmirching of White’s degree, let me say something about degrees in general. Did you know that some accredited universities in the US accept doctoral students from certain countries and when they graduate their degree contains the stipulation that it is not valid in the US?

When I was teaching at Fort Hare University (Nelson Mandela studied there – whoopee), one of the junior lecturers in the (English) Department said he was going to the US for 18 months to do an M.A. I said to him: “Eighteen months! Why don’t you do…

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Understanding understanding: using you loaf

Whether you are an atheist, agnostic, Christian or whatever, you presuppose you are able to understand – at least this sentence.

In Christian apologetics, there are two main schools: the evidentialists and the presuppositionalists. Both agree that God gave us a loaf and expects us to use it, for you can’t assent to something that has not initially passed through your loaf. . They disagree, however, on how we go about using it. The evidentialist says there are three stages in coming to faith in Christ: 1. Information (notitia) 2. Intellectual assent (assensus) and 3. Trust (fiducia). The presuppositionalist agrees that you need all three. The two schools differ in the following regard. I use a verse from scripture to illustrate:

1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know him who is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

The pesupposionalist says:

(Note: “This,” which begins the second sentence, refers grammatically to the immediate antecedent, namely, “his Son Jesus Christ.”

The reason we (Christians) understand his Son Jesus Christ to be the true God is because the Father decreed from eternity that we would understand it – providing us with the means of the three stages of notitia, assensus and fiducia.

How do I know that God decreed that some would use their loaf in the right way, how do I justify the presupposition that God decrees everything? You’re asking me to prove this presupposition. This presupposes that presuppositions can be proved. Atheists presuppose the “laws” of nature because, they say, THAT is the way nature has evolved; I presuppose the God of the Bible because the Bible says THAT is the way I was created.

Romans 1:14-21
I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: 21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened.

To put it gently, reject Romans 1,  you’re toast.

“I am determined to get well”: Yep, you are – to get well or not to.

“Happy enough is the man who is chosen of God; he may not ask a question as to when or where. Yet we could wish it were otherwise in our case, and that zeal and fervour were not restrained and hampered by being yoked to painful infirmities of the flesh. We could do more, and we think we may add, without self-confidence, we would do more, if we were not laid prostrate at the very moment when our work requires our presence. However, unto the Lord be the arrangement of our health or disease, our life or our death ; but while we live, we will leave no stone unturned for the increase of His glorious Kingdom “in the earth. Every interval of relief shall be laid out in His service. The time is short, it must therefore be spent all the more economically; the work is great, the Lord must be trusted the more simply.”

Excerpt from the Introduction by Thomas Spurgeon, son of Charles Spurgeon, of C. H. (Charles Haddon). “Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon compiled from his diary, letters and records by his wife and his private secretary.” Passmore and Alabaster, 1900. Free ebook https://archive.org/details/autobiographyofc04inspur.

One of my Christian relatives was in an accident and will be restricted in movement for a while. She feels, naturally, frustrated, and is determined to get well quickly. She is determined, but, as she is an Arminian (and thus has a thin understanding of the decrees of God), what she means by “determined” is not what the Bible means.

Christians of all stripes who know their Bible have a tendency to forget or no longer trust:

Romans 8:28
And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

Or don’t understand or appreciate the reason for their existence:

Romans 8:38-39
38 I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Retired? What are you doing with your time? Preparing for death and life

In the affluent West, If you’re retired, you must have been asked many times what you do with yourself. Well, I think about God a lot, read a lot, write a bit, cook a lot and practice my classical guitar a lot; I must master the tremolo before I die. What am I doing all this for? Simple, I’m preparing for death and life – eternal life.

No matter what a Christian’s age, the main job is to renew the mind, that is, to become eternally minded. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Dying, I live. The hard part of dying is working out my salvation in fear and trembling. Why do I tremble? Because it is Christ who works in me.

Philippians 2

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Considering Adam, by Hans Madueme

bography:

The prevalent Western view is that we arose out of the slime, which is the reason we are all , except cute little kiddies – though they would not admit it – slimy creatures. This view is so ngrained nto the Western-enlightened-Darwinian psyche that the idea that homo SAPiens originated from a perfect human pair created by God out if the dust of the ground very silly.

Originally posted on beliefspeak2:

THE HISTORICAL ADAM: HANS MADUEME

Death of God by Poison

“Adam, where art thou?” The Lord’s rhetorical question in Eden is now the intense cry of incredulous Christians in a post-Darwinian world. Influential evangelicals are urging the church to jettison the doctrine of an original couple who fell into sin. Most believers in the world today would find this fact astonishing; they would never think to question that sin’s origin with Adam lies at the foundation of the entire biblical story (Gen 2-3). If you pressed them for scriptural support, they might invoke Adam’s integral role in the genealogies ofGen 1-11 and Luke 3:23-38, and in a biblical theology of marriage (Matt 19:1-11;Mark 10:1-9; 1 Cor 6:16; Eph 5:31); his existence is declared or implied throughout the canon (see Jack Collins, Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?[Crossway, 2011]). Without…

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