Q. What Is the Greatest of All Protestant “Heresies”? A. Assurance


Thanks for taking the time to expand on this but it doesn’t really answer the question. Yes it does expand on the view of the reformers but it doesn’t answer how they came to the conclusion of imputed righteousness?



This is where you lost me. Not saying we aren’t just saying how do they get there from this verse?

Same here, how do they pull imputation out of these verses?

We can skip this one since we really aren’t talking about faith alone.

Do they explain where they are pulling the imputation from these verses?

Why would God punish an innocent person (Jesus) and declare righteous the guilty person (us)? Doesn’t that make God an unjust God?

If we are just clothed(imputed) with Christ’s righteousness and not actually made (infused) righteous how do we make it to heaven, when the Bible tells us nothing unclean shall enter heaven? In my mind if we are just clothed, it means we are still unclean underneath.

Thanks for the dialogue,

God Bless


Links for big subjects are I suppose easier. Especially since space per post has limits.

If interested, here’s different ways to answer the question


The God or A God

Historical writings from the Early Church

God became man

The CCC (catechism of the Catholic Church)
sovereign is used in passages 300, 303, 306

Since there is virtually an avalanche of materials to pick from, I’ll see if any of this gets to your question


“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21 ESV)

I believe the ESV Study Bible’s commentary on this verse will help you see where we are coming from…

2 Cor. 5:21 This verse is one of the most important in all of Scripture for understanding the meaning of the atonement and justification. Here we see that the one who knew no sin is Jesus Christ (v. 20) and that he (God) made him (Christ) to be sin (Gk. hamartia, “sin”). This means that God the Father made Christ to be regarded and treated as “sin” even though Christ himself never sinned (Heb. 4:15; cf. Gal. 3:13). Further, we see that God did this for our sake—that is, God regarded and treated “our” sin (the sin of all who would believe in Christ) as if our sin belonged not to us but to Christ himself. Thus Christ “died for all” (2 Cor. 5:14) and, as Peter wrote, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24). In becoming sin “for our sake,” Christ became our substitute—that is, Christ took our sin upon himself and, as our substitute, thereby bore the wrath of God (the punishment that we deserve) in our place (“for our sake”). Thus the technical term for this foundational doctrine of the Christian faith is the substitutionary atonement—that Christ has provided the atoning sacrifice as “our” substitute, for the sins of all who believe (cf. Rom. 3:23–25)…


Heresy affects all of the body of Christ. For example, The Book of Esther, as it appears in Catholic Bibles, and as it has been for every ancient Church of Christ, is about God’s providential care manifested in the saving of His people from grave danger that threatened it while still in exile.

I’m not sure what the Protestant version of the Book of Esther is about. It is certainly NOT about God, as God isn’t even mentioned in the Protestant version. God’s help is not sought, His providence is not mentioned, He is not thanked for his assistance.

If I seem astonished at the collective heresy that would choose a Godless version of Esther over the God-filled version accepted by all the most ancient Churches of Christ, I think there’s good cause. Am I affected by this heresy? Of course, as is everyone seeking Christian truth.

No amount of Protestant sophistry or quotes from private opinions–Catholic or Protestant–can make rational sense of this particular rebellion against the collective judgement of the Churches of Christ.


Again, what difference does it make to you? Luther’s translation has the entirety of Esther

Actually, I’m more astonished at this particular triumphalist polemics.


Well, the Church doesn’t even accept all of Aquinas’s teachings, let alone Augustine’s.


Catholics should keep this in mind when they quote “Bondage of the Will” and other Luther writings and claim it must be what all Lutherans believe


Or worse yet, the perverse doctrine that trying to do God’s will is sin, because it implies that Christ’s death was not enough.

Yet I maintain that presumption, despair and suicide are the worst results of heresy, not because they are the worst sins a man can commit, but because of they attack the cure for sin. The presumptuous man does not think Confession is necessary, the despairing man does not think Confession can help him, and the suicide is not alive to receive absolution. This is not to say that these sins are unpardonable, but that their nature interferes with a sinner’s ability to receive pardon. The presumptuous man may well be provoked to fear God by the Gospel, and the despairing man may likewise take solace that no sin is too great, nor list of sins too numerous for God to forgive. As for the suicide, it is possible that he may repent, even after setting his death in motion, because precisely the immanence of death makes him realize that nothing is worse than dying apart from God.


Thanks for the response.

It seems the author of this commentary is reading quite a bit back into that verse.

I don’t really understand what he means by…

I always understood this verse to mean a sin offering.

Sin is defined as an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

If it is to be taken as sin and not a sin offering how do you treat someone as sin?

The author also states…

The author says we see, however gives no biblical basis for this claim, to show us what he sees? Where does the Bible tell us God treated our sin as if it belonged to Christ?

I can see where he is getting imputation from 1 Peter, however, it seems he is taking that verse out of context and building a doctrine of imputation around it. Sure Peter says “He himself bore our sins in his body”, however it doesn’t seem like he wasn’t sighting doctrine here. He was using it as an example of suffering. Verse 20 For what credit is it, if when you do wrong and are beaten for it you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval. Verse 20 is just Peter’s example of how Christ suffered for our sins. I don’t think Peter was teaching imputation here. In fact I think he was teaching us how we must imitate Christ and that if we imitate Christ we (ourselves) will die to sin (not impute them to Jesus) and we (ourselves) will live to (become infused with) righteous, (not just covered (imputed) with righteousness)

On a final note how could God punish Jesus on the cross. Wouldn’t that put enmity between 2 persons of the Godhead? The reason I ask this is because I thought our punishment for sin was eternal separation from God?

Thanks for taking the time. You’ve given me much more information that anyone else I have spoken with in this subject. I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around the theology it seems like you have to take a lot of liberty with the scriptures to get there.

God Bless


Who holds to a doctrine that teaches this?

As for suicide, what point are you trying to make ?


It’s one of the criticisms I’ve heard from opponents of the Catholic Church. Concerning suicide, it’s related to the other two: Despair is a common motive for suicide, and presumption gives the impression that suicide will send you to Heaven.


Okay. If they are opposing Confession/Reconciliation/Absolution, they miss the main point of the power to bind and loose.


My own perception of the key ‘Protestant’ heresy, is not fully regarding/accepting the words of Jesus Himself, regarding the nature of the Holy Eucharist, and the Authority He gave to Simon and the other Apostles and their successors, regarding His ONE Church.


I will try to present the view of the Reformers in as concise a way as I can

If Luther were a reformer only, then we might have a “Lutheran order” within the Catholic Church like we have Benedictines, Dominicans and Franciscans. Reforms were needed then and true reformers do provide a service to the organizations that they influence. The schism that Luther launched came about by accident and was aided by Luther breaking his vows, leaving the ordained, celibate priesthood and getting married. Luther’s rebellion spawned a peasant war during his lifetime in which over 100,000 were killed. Luther’s hostility towards the Jews encouraged additional hostility. You will know the true prophets by their fruit and the fruit is not all good. Seven sacraments were reduced to two. The communion of the Eucharist was reduced from the real Presence of God (as in the Old Testament Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and Temple) to a mere symbol. The Old Testament Books of Daniel and Esther were reduced to eliminate some of their most excellent passages. The Book of James was nearly eliminated out of the New Testament. The writings of the Apostle Paul became over-emphasized while the writings of the other New Testament writers were de-emphasized. Love and good works became discouraged rather than encouraged. The unity of Christ’s Church was reduced to countless splinters. The fruit is not all good.

the doctrine of justification which I believe is at the very heart of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17)

The Apostle Paul avoided guilt among the Ephesian presbyters only by proclaiming the entire plan and counsel of God and not truncating it (Acts 20:26-27). It is sad to me when the gospel of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is truncated down to being only about legal justification and personal salvation from “wrath to come.”. Paul prayed for the full community of his hearers via the epistle to the Ephesians when he prayed that they would be “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). We need the full gospel about the Kingdom of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, coming in its fullness The euangelion gospel of the Romans proclaimed the kingdoms of the Caesars which have now passed away. The euangelion gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims his kingdom rule which has not yet fully come but which will be an everlasting kingdom of peace, love, justice, goodness and more with mercies for the heirs of mercy that endure forever and with an excellent and powerful King, whose kingdom will never end. The gospel proclaims a kingdom yet to come whose excellencies go beyond what human heart and mind have so far imagined.


I got cut off yesterday w/ character limits and then I reached my maximum post limit… Here is the conclusion of the ESV Study Bible commentary on 2 Cor 5:21, explaining Reformed Protestant understanding of imputation.

The background for this is Isaiah 53 from the Greek (Septuagint) translation of the Hebrew OT, which includes the most lengthy and detailed OT prophecy of Christ’s death and which contains numerous parallels to 2 Cor. 5:21. Isaiah’s prophecy specifically uses the Greek word for “sin” (Gk. hamartia) five times (as indicated below in italics) with reference to the coming Savior (the suffering servant) in just a few verses—e.g., “surely he has born our griefs” (Isa. 53:4); “He was crushed for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5); “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6); “he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa. 53:11); “he bore the sin of many” (Isa. 53:12). In a precise fulfillment of this prophecy, Christ became “sin” for those who believe in him, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. This means that just as God imputed our sin and guilt to Christ (“he made him to be sin”) so God also imputes the righteousness of Christ—a righteousness that is not our own—to all who believe in Christ. Because Christ bore the sins of those who believe, God regards and treats believers as having the legal status of “righteousness” (Gk. dikaiosynē). This righteousness belongs to believers because they are “in him,” that is, “in Christ” (e.g., Rom. 3:22; 5:18; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:17, 19; Phil. 3:9). Therefore “the righteousness of God” (which is imputed to believers) is also the righteousness of Christ—that is, the righteousness and the legal status that belongs to Christ as a result of Christ having lived as one who “knew no sin.” This then is the heart of the doctrine of justification: God regards (or counts) believers as forgiven and God declares and treats them as forgiven, because God the Father has imputed the believer’s sin to Christ and because God the Father likewise imputes Christ’s righteousness to the believer. (See further notes on Rom. 4:6–8; 5:18; 10:3; 10:6–8; see also Isa. 53:11: “the righteous one, my servant, [shall] make many to be accounted righteous”).


Words are important and their meanings can be difficult to pin down with certainty even in our own native language. When we are translating from an ancient language and culture, it becomes even more difficult. A few proof-texts are insufficient, particularly when there are additional Scripture texts that influence the understanding in a different direction.

How do we know that we “believe” in our hearts and not just in our heads? We could easily deceive ourselves. The promises of Romans 10:9-10 are for those who believe in their heart but Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that human hearts are deceitful and wicked, who can know them? It’s difficult enough to know the state of our own heart. It is even more difficult to know the state of someone else’s heart. Belief should be born out in actions to show that it is full, complete and genuine. Considering the full revelation of God in Scripture, we know that faith works by love (Galatians 5:6). A loveless faith would be a broken and non-working faith and a fruitless faith. John 15 speaks about fruitfless branches cut off and cast into the fire. Q. How do we know the difference between the true and false (genuine and insincere)? A. By fruit.

The command of Jesus was more than “Believe in Me”. It included “Follow Me” and this is something that the genuine and faith-full believer should do through all circumstances for all their days and be faithful unto death, if needed.

God is holy, holy, holy. Nothing unclean and impure will enter into his God’s heavenly presence. We all need the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Some reason their way to a doctrine of purgatory as a place of purification and growth in holiness. There is no Scriptural promise that a “believer” will become instantly and painlessly holy at the moment of death and brought instantly into the presence of God. The unholy believer is unprepared to see the Lord God. Legal status of “righteousness” is insufficient if holiness is not there.


Two thoughts

  1. there is no excuse for it, even in that time
  2. it was equaled by others including Eck


The communion of the Eucharist was reduced from the real Presence of God (as in the Old Testament Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and Temple) to a mere symbol.
Not by luther

The Old Testament Books of Daniel and Esther were reduced to eliminate some of their most excellent passages.
Not by Luther

The Book of James was nearly eliminated out of the New Testament.
No, it was not

The writings of the Apostle Paul became over-emphasized while the writings of the other New Testament writers were de-emphasized.
**not by Luther **

Love and good works became discouraged rather than encouraged.
**not by Luther **


The Old Testament is not essential to salvation.

While Catholics may have a complete set, so few have read let alone understood the significance of OT books.


Just a quick comment.

Luther was going to relegate in HIS bible, 7 OT books and 4 NT books to the junk pile. He was convinced to leave the 4 NT books alone, but reclassified the 7 OT books to apocrypha, = “NOT SCRIPTURE” status to Luther.

His apocrypha http://lutherbibel.net/biblia2/index.htm from a Lutheran source

Another Protestant source
https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Apocrypha-Books/ note Luther’s explanation of what apocrypha means to him "Martin Luther said, “Apocrypha–that is, books which are not regarded as equal to the holy Scriptures,” that quote is in the broader explanation of apocrypha, and in extension those books were ultimately removed all together in Protestant bibles.

One last comment

Those who might argue the Jews of Jerusalem didn’t accept those books…like Luther the heretic, I say to him, if he was here, the Jews who didn’t accept Jesus or His Church didn’t consider those books scripture. But THAT’S Not so for the Jews in Jerusalem and around the known world at the time, who did accept them. Let’s not forget Jesus was 100% Jew as were all the first members of His Church the Catholic Church who accepted those books.

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