That would be great. Thanks.
So what exactly do you believe Catholics believe about Mary?
Why is it that Protestants always fall back to the Mary position?
You have not provided a link to your quote. I think that it is no fairer to misrepresent the views of Lutherans than it is for Protestants to misrepresent the views of Catholics.
I know that the Catholic Church provides special veneration to Mary called hyperdulia. The Church does not permit the worship of Mary since adoration, latria, is due to God alone. The Catholic Church believes that Mary is the Mother of God, Ever Virgin, the Immaculate Conception and that she was assumed in to heaven.
I believe that most Catholic do not worship Mary, but in some cases, the devotion may cross the line and amount to worship even if it was not intended to be such.
That was merely an example of how Protestants misrepresent the views of the Catholic Church. It is no more justified than your false representation of what the Augsburg Confession, the Lutheran statement of faith says.
You are the one who made the false quotes, so please don’t try to turn things around onto me.
Fair enough. It would appear you consider yourself somewhat of an expert on the Augsburg Confession, so why don’t you show me where it contradicts my assertion that Luther believed one could sin regularly and still be saved.
The quote you provided merely states that one should try not to commit sin, with no mention of the relationship between faith salvation and sin.
The unbiblical formula of “faith alone” is a making of one right with God without God coming close to the person by union; it is an externalism and distance which reflect the externalism of Law (mental activity separated from the heart) rather than Charity.
Those who embrace this error of the “Reformer’s” teaching don’t understand the transformation at the deeper level of Nature and Soul, but limit it to the moral, conscious level of activity. But if because of Original Sin we are conceived without the grace of the Indwelling Trinity in our soul, our soul is dark and empty of the Trinitarian Presence, which is a Divine Light elevating the soul to the Divine level. That happens at Baptism. That’s the transformation by grace Catholics are talking about, not the working it out in moral activity. The Grace of Baptism thus justifies by reason of God’s presence, Who makes holy what He comes in contact with; sanctification is the extending of this radical holiness to all areas of life and activity. Salvation depends on not losing the fundamental holiness, justification of the soul, by neglect or contrary activity of the believer. Thus justification is by necessity a Grace of Union of God within the soul, from which center God AND the believer work together as First Cause to secondary simultaneously, thus meriting a reward of love from the conjoint activity of covenantal love. We are speaking here of the unconscious level of the soul, or life principle, by which we exist as a person from the moment of our conception onward.
VERY long post, but please read.
“If you have faith, but not works, will that faith save you?”
Faith is a simple concept that has been curiously complicated in matters of, well, faith. To properly understand faith, you must properly understand the word believe. To believe something is to know something, whether true or false, proof or no proof. The devils, for example, believe in the almighty presence. They have seen his glory, and believe because of proof. Faith, however, is a sub-classification of belief. It is simply the belief in something that has no proof. The bible, as well as the dictionary both define faith to simply mean a belief in that which has not been seen. In other words, you believe where there is no proof. For Someone in heaven (or hell for that matter) it is impossible to have faith. Why? Because they have seen the proof needed. The prerequisites for this sub-classification of belief no longer applies, believing without proof. Now, they simply believe. This is because the have the proof needed. To further expand this point, the sub-classification of the word believe that requires proof, and not an absence of proof is a fact. A Fact is something that is believed, but also has proof. Therefore, those in heaven (and hell) have facts, not faith. Why such a long winded explanation of the word faith? To reiterate that the word faith is simply a word that means a belief in something that cannot be proven. If you wish to say it means more than that, you are also doing the very thing that Paul warns us against. "Do not argue about words or the meaning of words for that will lead you to destruction." it is not an intellectual assent of the word faith, it is using the word faith as it truly means. Why then is the word faith used far more frequently than belief? Because the sub classification of belief, faith, is easier on the pen to write than trying to always say "belief without proof"
“We are saved by grace, through a belief that has no proof"
"We are saved by grace, through faith.”
Both mean the exact same thing, but which is easier to write, and which is easier to read.
So, understanding it from this perspective, is it possible to be saved by faith alone? Absolutely not. This is because by saying you are saved by faith alone, you are really saved by believing alone. No one, protestant or catholic, should say we are saved by simply believing and nothing else. That is akin to saying "I believe Christ died for my sins completely. Pass me the bong please!" Obviously, we cannot be saved by belief alone. Remember, even the demons in hell believe. Are they saved? Often, people will combat this by saying, if you have faith, you wont want to do these things. If you say this, you are using the wrong definition of the word faith. Again, faith simply means a belief in something not yet seen. When you say "if you have faith, you wont want to do those things." you are really saying, "if you believe in that which cannot be seen, you wont want to do those things." Obviously, this cannot be true because as mentioned, I can believe in something, but ignore it. What then do people mean when they say "if you have faith, you wont want to do these things" They are really saying, if you have a faith that saves, you won't want to do these things. This changes the purpose of faith from simply a belief, to a belief with a qualifier. What is a faith that saves? It means you belief in that which cannot be proven, and you also act on that belief. You are not forced to act on that belief, you choose to because you believe. THis belief is a gift from god, so to, the acting on that belief is meant as a gift for god. You should never do anything for yourself, but for the glory of god lest you boast. If a protestant comes up to a catholic and says we are saved by a saving faith, to a catholic, you are really saying, you are saved by a faith that has works because they are one in the same.
— Continued from before —
However, there is a problem in using saving faith. Many people, including entire denominations, think that faith is the same thing as a faith that saves. That coupled with the notion that a saving faith will ‘force’ you do do what is right (as has been told to me frequently) creates very dangerous problems. when you then say you are saved by faith alone, using that modified definition, you are really saying you are saved by a belief in that which cannot be seen that forces me to do what god wants. This far cry from the actual meaning (and why catholics have a problem with faith alone).
Evangelical understanding when someone says "Saved by faith alone"
Saved by believing without proof and being forced to do the will of god.
Catholic understanding when someone says "Saved by faith alone"
saved by believing without proof.
The best example of the problems this creates is to read Hebrews 11 first with the proper understanding of the word faith, and then with the distorted understanding. It becomes immediately clear why there are so many theological problems simply because the entire passage is changed
So, as stated, Can we be saved by faith alone? no. because that means that you are saved by believing alone and that is no where in the bible.
ANY time the bible uses the word faith, it means a belief in something not yet seen. Using any other definition will only cause problems.
I am not an expert on the Augsburg Confession but I can read. If you might wish to inform yourself here is a link to the Confession.
You can satisfy yourself as to whether its supports your conclusion. I care little for brief quotes as representing Luther’s position. I can take many documented statements from the early church fathers that would contradict what the Catholic Church say and in fact what the church father said elsewhere.
My objection is that by falsely quoting the Augsburg Confession you were misrepresenting the Lutheran beliefs. Luther may or may not have made those statements, but they are not part of accepted Luther doctrine, which you implied they were by saying they are in the Augsburg Confession. Catholics object when Protestants mistate Catholic beliefs so I feel that we should be able to hold them to the same standard when they
James Akin wrote on this also.
Basically, as a Catholic Christian, we do not need to reject the “faith alone” statement as long as we understand what is meant by Protestants when they say faith alone.
Catholics define faith as intellectual assent alone. This is very much in tune with Scripture, like James that states flat out that we are not saved by faith alone, and shows that works are somehow part of the picture.
Sometimes (mostimes?) Protestants who say faith alone mean the same thing that Catholic mean when we say Faith, hope and Charity.
So in many cases when protestants say faith alone, it includes the concept of the Catholic definition of faith, hope and charity.
Protestant idea of faith = Catholic idea of faith + Catholic idea of hope + Catholic idea of charity
Faith is not used in the same way everywhere it appears in the Bible. Paul obviously must mean more than just believeing something not seen when he says:
For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Hebrews 11 says more than faith just being a belief in things not seen.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. (Hebrews 11:1-2)
It is the assurance of things hoped for, that is what makes it saving faith and how it can be said that men of old gained approval by it. The demons may have conviction of things not seen but they do not hope for them.
James on the other hand uses faith in terms of the bare intelectual belief in things not seen.
Even believes does not have the same meaning everywhere for how else then can Jesus say:
[For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever **believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the the last day. (John 6:40)
So Jesus himself talks of belief in these passages without adding other conditions.
Paul obviously must mean more than just believeing something not seen when he says
But why must he. The word faith is used differently depending on the context, but the meaning of faith stays the same. Yes the implications of that faith are different than the implications of that faith in say Hebrews. Furthermore, it has to use the same definition across the board. if it doesn’t, how do I know which definition to use where.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for
That understanding works perfectly fine within the confines of the normal definition of the word faith.
Further more, if there are multiple definitions of the word faith, there is no indication in scripture which definition to use. It doesn’t say faith (definition #325) is the thing hoped for. … Faith (definition # 209) , love and hope. Therefore, you run into problems trying to understand scripture.
the word faith has ONE and only one meaning. The hope/belief in things not yet seen. If it doesn’t mean that, then there is a “secret” definition that I must be told either by another Christian or have the “secret” told to me by the holy spirit when reading. This is, in it’s truest form, Gnosticism. Learning about god using “secret” knowledge. Arguing against the dictionary definition fo the word Faith is arguing for Gnosticism.
As a note, I love it when people bring up John 3:16 as proof. They always conveniently forget to look verses 18-21. Notice how Christ goes on to clarify that believing isn’t th only thing. He also talks about doing. So, no offense, i have to laugh at John 3:16 as Proof because the verse directly after it contradict that very proof.
Also curious you use John 6:40. Out of context also, as in the surrounding verses he is talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. This passage deals with the Eucharist.
Faith does indeed have more than one meaning. Besides an intelectual assent it can also mean reliance or trust in, as in I have faith that Jesus is my redeemer. What does that mean? It means I intelectually know Jesus is my redeemer but it also means that I trust and rely on him as my redeemer. That is what I think that Paul means when he refers to faith. While not a Calvinist I would subscribe to the definition of faith taken from the Westminster Confession of Faith.
By this faith, a Christian believes to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein; and acts differently upon that which each particular passage thereof contains; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.
It also says this on works.
II. These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.
As for John 3:16, I see no contradiction.
16"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
18"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
20"For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21"But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
Why are people judged? Because they do not believe in Jesus. Why does he who practices the truth come to the Light? Show that it can be manifested (shown or proved) that his deed have been wrought in God. Jesus does not say that the works save but that they show the belief or faith of the doer.
I increasingly suspect that most of the time, Calvin railed against something in the Catholic church that the Church actually doesn’t teach, such as that the priest is re-sacrificing Christ in the Mass, and Calvin often argued for something that the Church does teach, such as that faith and works are inextricably linked. It is very difficult sometimes to tell where he and the Catholic Church parted company, as his understanding of Catholicism was not accurate. Much of what he objected to has been corrected.
Real faith arises from an act of grace when God touches one and places the gift of faith within. It is not just an intellectual construct but an act of God. But that gift of faith is no static thing, but rather it puts out works like a seed puts out stems and leaves and flowers and fruit. In essence it is dynamic.
Actually, for Catholics faith means one that is proved in action. It’s actually the other way around: Protestant definition of faith seems to be one only of intellectual assent. This can be seen in how both see faith: for Catholics, faith and works go hand in hand. For Protestants in general, faith and works seem to be separate. So, faith for Catholics isn’t mere intellectual assent, but one that must be lived and obeyed.
**2001 **The [FONT=Arial]preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, “since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:” [/FONT]
Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without him we can do nothing.
**1848 **As St. Paul affirms, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” But to do its work grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts and bestow on us “righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on sin:
Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man’s inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new grant of grace and love: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Thus in this “convincing concerning sin” we discover a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The Spirit of truth is the Consoler.
James said it best. Faith without works is dead. Grace is a state not a thing. Faith is a necessarry evil we need to believe. Jesus for example did not have need of faith. He knew the Father. He spoke often of faith but it was for the benefit of those He taught. He knew they would need it just as we do. So faith is necessarry to believe in God and His saving power without literally witnessing it. To receive the Grace of God is to become like God. We are formed in His image and likeness. That is beyond the physical. It encompasses all of our being; body soul and spirit. To receive the Grace of God is to extend it to all we meet. God’s love for us must be shown through us to others if we are truly in the state of Grace. Our acts of giving and receiving (don’t forget that it is a two way street) is not a to do list per se for salvation but rather it is a way of becoming as a result of asking for and accepting the Grace of God. While it is true that all we need do is ask for it the old saying of be careful what you ask for needs to be kept in mind. Are you really ready for the Grace of God and all that comes with it?
But if our works do not merit anything, why would they be required?
“Hey guys, this is God, so yea, if you could just parade around and do good works that would be great…though I should tell you, they mean nothing in the grand scheme of things…all I want you to do is acknowledge Me. Thanks.”
I cant really see that happening…I think I will stick with what St James told us about how meritorious works are…
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way?
For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead. "
Without works, there is no justification…so, just maybe would our works be meritorious and required?
We are rewarded for our works. We are not saved by our works.
Christ saves us. Faith by its nature will create works. Those works we do are only gratuitously rewarded, by grace, because they are still not good enough.
This is in contrast to the Catholic insistence that a man can actually perform a work that is good in itself.
Sort of parallel to the insistence among Calvinists that real sanctification is worked by God into the believer, yet his works will never be good enough on earth.