Imputed Rightousness


#1

**It is a departure from the one faith that was revealed by God. Its logical consequences are devastating to the Christian. It implies that one can be saved while continuing in sin. Consequently, those who are faithful to the Lord must oppose this doctrine with every ounce of their being.

Sara**


#2

Well, let’s not get carried away. We can say imputed righteousness (or declared/forensic justification) is a “partial truth” and most Protestants find it in Romans 3-4, Galatians 2-3, etc. The leading Fathers and Doctors of the Church however didn’t believe it, which is why it is a departure from the one faith revealed by God.

The Church Fathers and Sola Fide

Also good is the ECT statement “The Gift of Salvation” which compromises between both sides (imputed vs. infused).

Phil P


#3

[quote=sara888]**It is a departure from the one faith that was revealed by God. Its logical consequences are devastating to the Christian. It implies that one can be saved while continuing in sin. Consequently, those who are faithful to the Lord must oppose this doctrine with every ounce of their being.

Sara**
[/quote]

No, Sara, the logical consequences you describe do not exist.

Being “saved” means being ultimately freed from all sin. Obviously one cannot be saved in this sense while still sinning. But one can be forgiven for the sins that one commits in this life, and all Christians agree that this is possible.

The divide comes not between those who believe in imputed righteousness and those who do not, but those who believe that saving faith (to which righteousness is imputed in the classical Protestant view) is compatible with deliberate unrepentant sin and those who do not.

Luther did not believe that it was compatible, nor did any other of the major reformers.

The idea that someone can have a saving trust in Christ and deliberately persist in sin is a horrible error of certain Protestants, mostly in the modern era. (There were antinomians in the sixteenth century, but they were condemned by mainstream Protestants.)

Edwin


#4

Somewhat tangential I suppose, but habitual, persistent sin may have a quality that impacts free will–addiction–which may make a sin normally mortal, venial. So someone with a saving trust in Christ may be persisting in a sin and yet be ultimately saved.

yes?


#5

Edwin,

[quote=Contarini]No, Sara, the logical consequences you describe do not exist.

Being “saved” means being ultimately freed from all sin.

If you mean all in the collective sense then that can’t be correct. You mean to say that you don’t sin any longer since you are saved?

1 John 1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Obviously one cannot be saved in this sense while still sinning.

A problem with Protestant theology is that it doesn’t distiguish between the differing types of sin; this is so also because of the false idea of imputed righteousness. Luther proposed the idea from looking at a dunghill covered with snow and concluding that God only covers us (imputes righteousness to us) and doesn’t actually make us holy, only sees us through Christ covering us as to make us holy.
Catholic theology, I would assert is far superior and theologically deeper in that it affirms the obvious; that when God says we are righteous, we ARE righteous and made completely holy. God can’t declare something and it NOT be true. And we are made completely righteous in our initial justification at Baptism, 1 Peter 3:15, Acts 2:38. However, we can after our initial justification, sin which is actual sin (the act of sinning), yet as we cooperate with Gods grace we can become more holy, much like a glass fills with water (water being the metephor of grace) and as we cooperate we become holier and more filled with grace.
In the book of Genisis 1:3 God says “let their be light” and there is light. God CAN NOT declare something and it NOT be true. That’s clearly the more logical and more persuasive philosophical and theological argument. Catholic theology also correctly asserts that one can have venial sin and still be in a state of grace (in Gods favor), even though they still “sin” just not in a way that cuts themselves off or squashes His grace. Mortal sin, the sin that leads to death (1 John 5) cuts us off from heaven.

But one can be forgiven for the sins that one commits in this life, and all Christians agree that this is possible.

Sure if we repent from that sin with true and perfect contrition and follow God with the grace we have been given so says 1 John:9-10

The divide comes not between those who believe in imputed righteousness and those who do not, but those who believe that saving faith (to which righteousness is imputed in the classical Protestant view) is compatible with deliberate unrepentant sin and those who do not.

Sure, saving faith isn’t compatible with deliberate unrepentant sin and virtually all Protestants believe that. Now if you are saying that their isn’t a divide between those who believe in imputed righteousness vs those who believe in infused righteousness then you err; that’s the classical Protestant vs Catholic difference on justification. We Catholics would agree that equating saving faith with deliberate unrepentant sin is foolish.
Yet I can’t but only wonder how much a Protestant could “sin” at least to what degree can one sin and still have “saving faith”?

Luther did not believe that it was compatible, nor did any other of the major reformers.

I would actually disagree with you and assert that Luther did accept antinomianism and said that as good works do not promote salvation, so neither do evil works hinder it.

The idea that someone can have a saving trust in Christ and deliberately persist in sin is a horrible error of certain Protestants, mostly in the modern era. (There were antinomians in the sixteenth century, but they were condemned by mainstream Protestants.)

True that one can’t have a saving trust in Christ and deliberately persist in sin (although I’d like a qualification of what “type” of sin that would be). Yet isn’t that one of many problems with Protestantism; that it lacks any cohesiveness and conclusiveness as to what is “truth.” Just because a majority of Protestants believe some doctrine doesn’t make it so! They could argue until the cows come home and still not come to a conclusive agreement as to what Scripture actually says. Perhaps that’s why Scripture says in 1 Tim 3:15 that the “pillar and support of truth is the Church.” If that’s so with Protestantism and its differing doctrinal positions, I would then ask which of the plethora of Protestant Churches has the correct doctrines?

rc
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#6

[quote=MichaelTDoyle]Somewhat tangential I suppose, but habitual, persistent sin may have a quality that impacts free will–addiction–which may make a sin normally mortal, venial. So someone with a saving trust in Christ may be persisting in a sin and yet be ultimately saved.

yes?
[/quote]

True enough. You can’t judge someone’s heart. It’s hard enough for me to know when I myself am fully culpable for my own sins (though with one’s own sins it’s generally best to err on the rigorous side; this is one of the great benefits of sacramental confession of course and I miss my Anglo-Catholic parish in NC where I could get it regularly).

The point is that if, with free will and full deliberation, one chooses a life of serious sin, then one is turning away from faith in Christ by definition. Luther taught this explicitly in his Galatians commentary, and so have most Protestants historically.

Edwin


#7

**I concur Bishopite,

Thanks , it saved me some time posting.

Sara**


#8

[quote=Bishopite]Edwin,

[quote=Contarini]No, Sara, the logical consequences you describe do not exist.

Being “saved” means being ultimately freed from all sin.

If you mean all in the collective sense then that can’t be correct. You mean to say that you don’t sin any longer since you are saved?
[/quote]

1 John 1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Obviously one cannot be saved in this sense while still sinning.

A problem with Protestant theology is that it doesn’t distiguish between the differing types of sin; this is so also because of the false idea of imputed righteousness. Luther proposed the idea from looking at a dunghill covered with snow and concluding that God only covers us (imputes righteousness to us) and doesn’t actually make us holy, only sees us through Christ covering us as to make us holy.
Catholic theology, I would assert is far superior and theologically deeper in that it affirms the obvious; that when God says we are righteous, we ARE righteous and made completely holy. God can’t declare something and it NOT be true. And we are made completely righteous in our initial justification at Baptism, 1 Peter 3:15, Acts 2:38. However, we can after our initial justification, sin which is actual sin (the act of sinning), yet as we cooperate with Gods grace we can become more holy, much like a glass fills with water (water being the metephor of grace) and as we cooperate we become holier and more filled with grace.
In the book of Genisis 1:3 God says “let their be light” and there is light. God CAN NOT declare something and it NOT be true. That’s clearly the more logical and more persuasive philosophical and theological argument. Catholic theology also correctly asserts that one can have venial sin and still be in a state of grace (in Gods favor), even though they still “sin” just not in a way that cuts themselves off or squashes His grace. Mortal sin, the sin that leads to death (1 John 5) cuts us off from heaven.

But one can be forgiven for the sins that one commits in this life, and all Christians agree that this is possible.

Sure if we repent from that sin with true and perfect contrition and follow God with the grace we have been given so says 1 John:9-10

The divide comes not between those who believe in imputed righteousness and those who do not, but those who believe that saving faith (to which righteousness is imputed in the classical Protestant view) is compatible with deliberate unrepentant sin and those who do not.

Sure, saving faith isn’t compatible with deliberate unrepentant sin and virtually all Protestants believe that. Now if you are saying that their isn’t a divide between those who believe in imputed righteousness vs those who believe in infused righteousness then you err; that’s the classical Protestant vs Catholic difference on justification. We Catholics would agree that equating saving faith with deliberate unrepentant sin is foolish.
Yet I can’t but only wonder how much a Protestant could “sin” at least to what degree can one sin and still have “saving faith”?

Luther did not believe that it was compatible, nor did any other of the major reformers.

I would actually disagree with you and assert that Luther did accept antinomianism and said that as good works do not promote salvation, so neither do evil works hinder it.

The idea that someone can have a saving trust in Christ and deliberately persist in sin is a horrible error of certain Protestants, mostly in the modern era. (There were antinomians in the sixteenth century, but they were condemned by mainstream Protestants.)

True that one can’t have a saving trust in Christ and deliberately persist in sin (although I’d like a qualification of what “type” of sin that would be). Yet isn’t that one of many problems with Protestantism; that it lacks any cohesiveness and conclusiveness as to what is “truth.” Just because a majority of Protestants believe some doctrine doesn’t make it so! They could argue until the cows come home and still not come to a conclusive agreement as to what Scripture actually says. Perhaps that’s why Scripture says in 1 Tim 3:15 that the “pillar and support of truth is the Church.” If that’s so with Protestantism and its differing doctrinal positions, I would then ask which of the plethora of Protestant Churches has the correct doctrines?

rc

romans 14

:slight_smile:
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#9

However, we can after our initial justification, sin which is actual sin (the act of sinning),

Not just can but do. Everyone commits venial sins. Mortal sins are avoidable, true; but even venial sins make us less than entirely holy.

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#10

In the book of Genisis 1:3 God says “let their be light” and there is light. God CAN NOT declare something and it NOT be true.

And Luther explicitly said that–God’s words are “deed-words.” When God says something it happens. There’s no quarrel there. The problem with Luther was that his theological tradition (which was a late medieval Catholic tradition, of course) emphasized legal understandings of salvation, and he was thinking in those terms to a great extent. So he saw justification based on imputation as God’s declaration that we are righteous in a legal sense. God also makes us actually righteous, but (as we all agree) this takes time.

You do not surely believe that repentant penitents are cleansed from all sinful passions in a moment? That is no part of Catholic doctrine, as I understand it. Rather, our sins are forgiven and we receive grace to lead a better life and grow in holiness. That’s what Luther taught as well. Why do you think he continued to advocate confession to a pastor? Why do you think Lutherans continued to practice confession and indeed require it as a condition for receiving the Eucharist?

Sure if we repent from that sin with true and perfect contrition and follow God with the grace we have been given so says 1 John:9-10

Luther certainly would not deny that repentance is necessary. I’ve shown in the “Luther! Read! Read!” thread that he explicitly says that if people do not repent of serious sins they lose faith and are damned. However, Luther would question the phrase “true and perfect contrition” because he would say “how do you know that you have perfect contrition? Indeed, is such a thing possible?” Demanding perfect anything as a condition for forgiveness is rather scary. (And in fact in Luther’s day there were several different opinions about just how much contrition was required in the sacrament of penance. I believe that the less rigorous position has prevailed in Catholicism–that imperfect contrition is somehow transformed into perfect contrition by the grace of the sacrament. But this was not universally taught in Luther’s day, and Luther himself was trained in a very rigorous religious order.) Rather, Luther would say that repentance is flinging ourselves on the mercy of Christ as sinners who cannot do anything to save ourselves. Our trust must be not in the strength of our own contrition but rather in the merits of Christ.


#11

[quote=sara888]I concur Bishopite,

Thanks , it saved me some time posting.

Sara
[/quote]

Your welcome.

rc


#12

Yet I can’t but only wonder how much a Protestant could “sin” at least to what degree can one sin and still have “saving faith”?

Luther didn’t like to answer that question, because from his point of view it was pastorally disastrous to get people worrying about when they had “crossed the line.” That’s why he was prone (in certain pastoral or polemical contexts) to make rhetorical statements that have misled some people into thinking he was an antinomian. But I don’t see how someone could study Luther seriously and come to that conclusion. No offense, but I see no reason to think that you’re very deeply familiar with Luther. And that’s OK–there are many theologians with whose work I’m not very familiar (Karl Barth, for instance). But in that case it’s wise to rely on the consensus of scholars rather than repeating polemical stereotypes based on out-of-context quotations.

In the long “Luther! Read! Read!” thread I spent quite a few posts refuting the claim that Luther was an antinomian. Look especially at my posts 71-73 on that thread. Or go directly to Luther’s Galatians commentary, especially his comments on 2:16-17 and 5:6. He explicitly says that if you give in to the desires of the flesh you will lose faith and the Holy Spirit, and will be damned if you don’t repent. How on earth is that antinomian?

The Protestant confessions such as the Formula of Concord generally remain rather vague on the subject, but say that if you persist in serious sin and don’t repent then you don’t have true faith. They didn’t really need to define what “serious sin” was, because in practice it was the same thing as Catholic “mortal sin.” That’s why I don’t see the huge divide that classical Protestants (Lutheran/Reformed) and some Catholics like you do. In practice, mainstream historic Protestantism agrees with Catholicism that if you commit a serious sin you had better repent or you will go to hell. In practice, Protestants have not historically differed seriously from Catholics on what was sin and what wasn’t, and when we have differed Protestants have been more rigorous than Catholics as often as the other way round (many Protestant traditions came to the rather ridiculous conclusion in the late 19th century that drinking any alcohol at all was a serious sin, for instance).

It’s true that antinomianism keeps cropping up within Protestantism, and it’s rampant today. But it has never been the mainstream historically. In practice, many Protestants look at Catholics (I mean ordinary church-going Catholics) and are shocked at how morally lax their lives are. My wife’s grandfather, a Methodist minister, used to comment that the local Catholics “live like the devil all week and then go to Mass on Sunday.” My family, also from a Wesleyan background, had the same impression. I say this not to attack Catholicism but just to point out that the practical fruit of the two theologies is not as one-sided as you seem to be claiming. Practically speaking, you can find both Protestants and Catholics who twist their church’s teaching to allow them to live dissolute lives.

Of course, as you note, different Protestant traditions take very different positions on this. My grandmother routinely used both Catholics and Baptists as examples of what she called “sinning religion.” You’re right to point out that we Protestants are extremely disunified. But why do you think we would want to claim that either Protestantism as a whole or any particular Protestant denomination is the true Church? I certainly would not make any such claim, and probably very few Protestants would make it today.

For more on this, see my blog Ithilien, especially the post “The breakdown of Protestantism.”

Edwin


#13

**Edwin,

As an Episcopalien, Do you believe in Eternal Security or Assured Salvation.?

Sara**


#14

And Luther explicitly said that–God’s words are “deed-words.” When God says something it happens. There’s no quarrel there. The problem with Luther was that his theological tradition (which was a late medieval Catholic tradition, of course) emphasized legal understandings of salvation, and he was thinking in those terms to a great extent. So he saw justification based on imputation as God’s declaration that we are righteous in a legal sense. God also makes us actually righteous, but (as we all agree) this takes time.

Alright, I could partially agree with that, however, we are not ONLY made righteous in the legal sense as Luther’s dunghill metaphor suggested; his example was/is completely false and thats what Trent condemned. God infuses His grace in us as 1 Peter 1:4 says…“we are partakers of His divine nature.”

You do not surely believe that repentant penitents are cleansed from all sinful passions in a moment?

What I said was, yes if they have perfect contrition or at baptism, post baptismal personal sin is again in need of forgiveness.

CCC says:1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.
That is no part of Catholic doctrine, as I understand it.

With all due deference, you don’t seem to understand it. “ALL” sin isn’t equal; murder is greater than kicking your dog.

Rather, our sins are forgiven and we receive grace to lead a better life and grow in holiness. That’s what Luther taught as well.

Sure, but it seems that you are attempting to group together or make equal sacramental confession to a validly ordained Catholic priest and a Protestant pastor; that Protestant pastor=Catholic priest in confession and that’s a fallacy.

Why do you think he continued to advocate confession to a pastor?

Again, confession to a Protestant pastor if he is not a validly ordained priest is sacramentally usless save perhaps helping ones conscience. Mortal sin has to be confessed sacramentally to a Catholic priest and is only available to Catholics or those becoming Catholic; however, if one is NOT Catholic then for their mortal sins perfect contrition is needed for venial sins imperfect contrition.

Why do you think Lutherans continued to practice confession and indeed require it as a condition for receiving the Eucharist?

Confession to Luther would have been valid for any Catholic during the reformation prior to his schismaticism, but usless after, unless under the pains of death.

Luther certainly would not deny that repentance is necessary.

Right I agree and never said that; what I said is that Luther ALSO said that mental assent ALSO justifies us which is false.

I’ve shown in the “Luther! Read! Read!” thread that he explicitly says that if people do not repent of serious sins they lose faith and are damned. However, Luther would question the phrase “true and perfect contrition” because he would say "how do you know that you have perfect contrition?

Ah, and most people DON’T know objectively that’s why sacramental confession to a validly ordained Catholic priest absolves that sinner who and is an objective means of knowing your sins have been forgiven. Luther was trying to challenge the authority of the Magisterium by questioning what true and perfect contrition was and thereby invalidating the sacramental power of the Catholic priesthoods ability to objectively absolve sin. Mortal sin in Catholic theology ALWAYS needs for sacramental confession and absolution.

You as Luther keep equating the ones conscience with sacramental confession which proves to me that you don’t know Catholic theology. Many people have ill formed consciences and can do the most depraved sins and still no be sorry for them in their consciences; hence the beauty of the objective sacrament of confession.
CCC. 1452 When it [mortal sin] arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it [moral sin] includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51 Insertions are mine.

Due to time and space I’ll finish my rebutal on another post.

rc


#15

No, I mean that my salvation is not yet complete. It’s true that many Protestants speak of “having been saved,” but even they will distinguish between different senses of the term and admit that there is a “future tense” of salvation which involves being free from all sin.

Yes, but “having been saved” is in the future sense, yet they/we are excatly “saved” and in heaven yet, hence it is presumptive for Protestants to say I am saved or I will be saved because of the eternal consequences dying in mortal sin.

The problem, of course, is that they think that their present standing before God is in no sense dependent on their progress toward sanctification. I understand why the Reformers came to believe this, and I think that they had a lot of safeguards against antinomianism (which modern Catholics like you don’t recognize because you read the Reformers in the light of modern antinomian Protestants). But it was still an unnecessary and excessive move.

Well, then what do you do with Hebrews 12:14?
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” If someone takes the attitude that their justified without having to be holy then the’ve missed the boat brother. Didn’t Jesus say in Mt 10:38-39: “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it.” Pretty straight forward.
You mean mortal and venial? Yes, this is a problem, though some forms of Protestantism (Wesleyan theology, for instance) do make such distinctions. (Wesley said that a sin “properly so called” was a “wilful transgression of a known law” as distinct from simply falling short of the perfect law of love.)

Well…most Protestants don’t accept mortal/venial sin. Alll sin is sin. Just a side note. Not to sound bragidocous, but I grew up Protestant and juxtaposed my Protestant theology (and many others) with Catholic theology for over five years before becoming Catholic and I understand both. I became Catholic a number of years ago when I was thirty-eight. Anyway, perhaps certain Protestant Churches follow Weslian theology, however, besides denying Christ until death what temporal “sin(s)” would they consider to be mortal?

Or perhaps the other way round. Catholic Dude said aptly that Luther dug himself into a hole he couldn’t get himself out of (or something like that) by seeing even sinful inclinations as mortally sinful–this necessitated a doctrine of imputed righteousness.

Yes, he may be alluding to Luther really struggling with knowing that he was saved; even knowing in a moral sense and didn’t feel that he was really justified in the eyes of God. That, in turn lead him into a confusing exegesis on justification in Scripture and particularly in Romans 3,4, and mostly James 2 which lead to his coining the latin term sola fide and we all know that he came out with the September Bible where he changed Romans 3:28 to say “faith alone” even though all of the Greek manuscripts say only “faith.”

This is commonly ascribed to Luther, but I have yet to see a reference. That’s not to say that he didn’t say it–I don’t claim to have read everything Luther wrote by any means, or to have remembered everything I’ve read–but I have yet to see the quote backed up.

I have read it before and you are correct that it would be dishonest for me to say that without an actual quote. I did find this one from David Armstrongs website which quotes Luthers dunghill theory.
[left][/left]
The Facts About Luther, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, rev. ed., 1987 {orig. Cincinnati:1916}, pp.266-267). In his commentary on Psalm 51, Luther informs us that man “is a bad tree and cannot produce good fruit, a dunghill and can only exhale foul odors. He is so thoroughly corrupted that it is absolutely impossible for him to produce good actions. Sin is his nature; he cannot help committing it. Man may do hisbest to do good, still his every action is unavoidably bad; he commits sin as often as he draws his breath”

If I find another quotation I’ll post it, and I’ll finish my reply soon when time and space allows. God bless

rc


#16

Well, then what do you do with Hebrews 12:14?
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” If someone takes the attitude that their justified without having to be holy then the’ve missed the boat brother. Didn’t Jesus say in Mt 10:38-39: “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it.” Pretty straight forward.

No, it’s quite bewildering–the way you’re using it, that is. I’m disagreeing with the classical Protestant view of imputed righteousness, and calling it unnecessary and excessive. Who do you think you are arguing with?

Well…most Protestants don’t accept mortal/venial sin. Alll sin is sin. Just a side note. Not to sound bragidocous, but I grew up Protestant and juxtaposed my Protestant theology (and many others) with Catholic theology for over five years before becoming Catholic and I understand both.

What kind of Protestant were you? What kind of Protestantism did you study? You don’t have to answer this question unless you are trying to establish some kind of personal expertise. The fact that you don’t seem to know anything about the Wesleyan tradition at all indicates that your study was rather narrow. And that’s perfectly OK. It’s just that (as Catholics are never tired of pointing out) Protestants come in very many varieties. Don’t assume that your particular corner of the Protestant world represents Protestantism as a whole.

[quote]

I became Catholic a number of years ago when I was thirty-eight. Anyway, perhaps certain Protestant Churches follow Weslian theology, however, besides denying Christ until death what temporal “sin(s)” would they consider to be mortal?

Well, I’ve answered this in my previous post. In practice, Protestants historically have regarded as “mortal” sins more or less the same sins that Catholics did. Obviously there are some differences of emphasis, but essentially historic Protestantism simply brought the “mortal/venial” distinction back in the back door. Luther himself adopts it approvingly when speaking of lustful thoughts in his sermons on Matt. 5.

The common belief among modern evangelicals that “all sins are equal” (which they don’t really carry out in practice either) is relatively modern, as far as I can tell. Theoretically, yes this has always been the classical Protestant teaching–all sin damns you unless covered by Christ’s righteousness. But it has always been recognized that some sins are incompatible with saving faith and others aren’t.

And then you have Wesley, who is far closer to Catholicism (and has had a huge impact not just on Methodists and “holiness” churches but also on Pentecostalism).

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#17

That, in turn lead him into a confusing exegesis on justification in Scripture and particularly in Romans 3,4, and mostly James 2 which lead to his coining the latin term sola fide

No, he didn’t coin it. It was used by the Fathers frequently. That’s not to say that they meant by it exactly what he did (for that matter, the phrase “sola fides” occurs in Thomas Aquinas’s hymn “Pange Lingua,” but in a totally different sense), but they did use it.

[quote]

and we all know that he came out with the September Bible where he changed Romans 3:28 to say “faith alone” even though all of the Greek manuscripts say only “faith.”

that’s a ridiculous statement, since neither Luther’s Bible nor the Greek text used any English words at all.

This is not a trivial point I’m making. It’s exactly the point Luther makes in his essay “On Translating” to justify his use of the word “allein.” Greek and German are different languages, and you can’t simply translate word for word when trying to render the sense of one language into another language with different syntax. He makes this argument right after saying that he doesn’t owe the “Papist blockheads” any argument at all. Catholic polemicists take that paragraph out of context and completely ignore the careful argument that follows. I wonder why? What do they have to lose in reporting the argument Luther actually gives, instead of giving the false impression that he fails to provide an argument? Luther’s approach to translation (though not necessarily that particular choice) is one that most translators today would endorse.

[/quote]

I did find this one from David Armstrongs website which quotes Luthers dunghill theory.
The Facts About Luther, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, rev. ed., 1987 {orig. Cincinnati:1916}, pp.266-267). In his commentary on Psalm 51, Luther informs us that man “is a bad tree and cannot produce good fruit, a dunghill and can only exhale foul odors. He is so thoroughly corrupted that it is absolutely impossible for him to produce good actions. Sin is his nature; he cannot help committing it. Man may do hisbest to do good, still his every action is unavoidably bad; he commits sin as often as he draws his breath”

Well, that doesn’t tell us which Psalms commentary. And I have to wonder why (if you want to understand Luther) you are relying on a patently biased, polemical collection of quotes which you haven’t even read for yourself but only know through a Catholic apologetics website.

Here’s a revolutionary idea–why not read some Luther directly? Why not read a good, scholarly book on him like Bainton or Oberman or Althaus? If you want to understand any theologian, you must not rely on biased, out-of-context quotations spoon-fed you by people with an axe to grind (even smart, decent people like Dave Armstrong!).

The quote as you give it says nothing about snow, which is what I was asking for. As it stands, it makes perfect sense in terms of Luther’s theology. The point is that Luther had an incredibly strict standard for what was or was not sin. Pretty much everything people did was sinful, in his view, which was why you needed imputed righteousness. But as I’ve shown several times on this board, Luther brought back the distinction between mortal and venial sin in practice.

Edwin


#18

I don’t find where Trent condemns the (possibly apocryphal) snow-on-dunghill metaphor (which is what you seem to be saying happened). Nor can I find Trent quoting 1 Peter 1:4. Am I missing the place?

Furthermore, infused grace is not the same thing as partaking of the divine nature, because the grace that is infused is a created quality. A created quality is not the same thing as the divine nature. Granted, created grace prepares the way for the uncreated grace of the indwelling Spirit. So perhaps I’m quibbling and don’t understand the context well enough–but it seems to me that the concept of created grace puts a buffer between us and real participation in the divine nature (as taught by the Orthodox or by the Western tradition before the 13th century). This is not a negligible part of the theological confusion that helped lead to the Reformation, it seems to me. But I may just be mixed up here.

I don’t think either Luther or his opponents were sufficiently emphasizing language of participation over language of merit–but I can’t see that Luther’s shortcomings on this score were greater than those of his opponents.


#19

What I said was, yes if they have perfect contrition or at baptism, post baptismal personal sin is again in need of forgiveness.

But I’m not talking about forgiveness. Perhaps using the word “sinful” made it confusing (since that word is precisely the point at issue). I spoke of the penitent rather than the newly baptized precisely because in Catholic theology baptism removes both the guilt and the penalty. But penance does not. A temporal penalty remains, which is why you have Purgatory.

Now it seems to me that unless you take a purely legal approach to these things (which you clearly don’t), temporal punishment implies that there is something in us that needs to be purged. Right? So if a repentant penitent still has to face Purgatory, that implies that the passions are not entirely in order.

How am I wrong here?

I know that Catholic theology regards it as possible to be “free from all attachment to sin” (as when one gains a plenary indulgence–but Catholic lore indicates that this is quite rare). That’s basically what my Wesleyan tradition would call “perfect love” or “entire sanctification.” I suppose I still believe this is possible, though I’ve been so badly burned by people claiming entire sanctification that I’m wary of such claims (and I think the Catholic tradition is very wise in not teaching people to claim that they are in such a state). But certainly Catholic theology does not teach that every forgiven penitent is in such a state–or, again, there would be no need for Purgatory.

That is no part of Catholic doctrine, as I understand it.

With all due deference, you don’t seem to understand it. “ALL” sin isn’t equal; murder is greater than kicking your dog.

It may be true that I don’t understand it. But you clearly don’t understand what I’m saying. I’m baffled by how you think your second sentence is relevant. I’ve said over and over that I don’t think all sin is equal. But all sin is still sin–that is to say, it causes us to fall short in some degree of the perfect standard of holiness. And when sin is forgiven, its effects on the soul are not necessarily wiped out entirely.

Sure, but it seems that you are attempting to group together or make equal

I don’t know when I’ve argued with someone as distractible as you are (and that includes myself–as you’ve noticed, I’m pretty darn distractible, but you take the cake).

If you want to argue about the validity of Lutheran confessions, please go argue the point on another thread, preferably with a Lutheran. I’m not grouping together or making anything equal. I’m simply pointing out that if Luther really thought that repentance wasn’t necessary for a believer he wouldn’t have advocated confession. The point is what *he *thought and why, not whether he was right.


#20

I asked:

Why do you think he continued to advocate confession to a pastor?

And you did not answer. Instead, you dodged the question by going on about how it’s not valid, which is irrelevant. Valid or not from your standpoint, why did he advocate it? Why do Lutherans practice it?

Luther certainly would not deny that repentance is necessary.

Right I agree and never said that; what I said is that Luther ALSO said that mental assent ALSO justifies us which is false.

That doesn’t make any sense. Are you saying that mental assent is no part of justification? Or are you saying that Luther said both that repentance was necessary and that we are justified by mental assent alone?

If you’re saying the former, then I think you’re contradicting Catholic teaching. Clearly you have to assent to the truth in order to have faith that works through love, which is what justifies. However, this isn’t really relevant to Luther.

If you’re saying the latter, then you’re saying nonsense. So I don’t really know what you are saying.

But in case you’re saying the latter, I challenge you: where do you find Luther saying that saving faith is mental assent? Such a statement could not be farther from what he taught.

Ah, and most people DON’T know objectively that’s why sacramental confession to a validly ordained Catholic priest absolves that sinner who and is an objective means of knowing your sins have been forgiven.

But Luther would point out that you have to confess your sins fully (to the best of your ability) even in the least rigorous understanding of what is required.

Furthermore, as I said earlier, Catholic theologians in Luther’s day were divided on exactly what was necessary in the confessional. One school of thought, which appears to have triumphed in Catholicism, took the line you do, emphasizing the objective nature of the sacrament. Another school of thought emphasized the need to have full contrition for the priest’s absolution to be effective. After all, the priest’s absolution is not effective if you aren’t really repentant, is it?

You keep assuming that Catholicism in Luther’s day was exactly the same as the Catholicism you have been taught. That’s simply false (and I’m not saying anything that a historically knowledgeable Catholic–such as the Pope–wouldn’t agree with). There were various schools of theology, some of which have since been ruled out as less than fully orthodox. To understand Luther you have to understand the Catholicism he was dealing with, instead of judging him by the Catholicism you know and love.

Luther was trying to challenge the authority of the Magisterium by questioning what true and perfect contrition was

No, authors of penitential manuals in Luther’s day were questioning this. Luther didn’t just come up with these questions out of his own tortured soul (as some Catholics have suggested). They were there already.

You as Luther keep equating the ones conscience with sacramental confession which proves to me that you don’t know Catholic theology.

I don’t follow this argument. I wish you would stop making up my views for me. I can come up with my own opinions quite easily without your help, thanks! I don’t recall having used the word “conscience” once.

Many people have ill formed consciences and can do the most depraved sins and still no be sorry for them in their consciences; hence the beauty of the objective sacrament of confession.

I fail to see this. The sacrament doesn’t forgive the sins of people who have no sorrow and no purpose of amendment. (As I understand it, you can have imperfect contrition which is somehow perfected by the power of the sacrament–but there does have to be some kind of turning away from sin) If you think it does, then you are the one who doesn’t understand Catholicism.

You’re right that Catholic teaching *as it has developed *stresses the objective power of the sacrament and thus tends to reduce the fears about perfect contrition experienced by Luther and other scrupulous late medieval Catholics. Whether this would satisfy Luther I don’t know. I suspect not. But I’m not here to speculate about him or defend him as correct–simply to explain what he actually taught.

Edwin


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