Reformed teaching on Forgiveness vs. Catholic

Been reading some articles my fallen away, reformist brother in law sent me. Would you have any advice on how to respond to this?

What is it precisely that you think needs a response?

How does the article differ to Catholic teaching and as a Catholic how should I respond to it?

OK let me give you some questions

The article says…

First , from God’s viewpoint there is no problem with saying that when he declares us just, he forgives our future sins—as well as our past and present sins—since our future lies before him as an open book.

I would ask him wouldn’t this also mean that our unrepentant future lies before God as well, and even though we are repentant today God already knows that 40 years from now some who believe they are saved today will deny Him? Therefore He would, today, declare that person unjust even though that person believes they are just?

Not sure if you need to at this point but I would also point out that Catholic don’t believe we are saved today and unsaved when we sin and need to be re justified in order to be saved again.

Although God’s plan is from eternity, it’s effected in time. As temporal creatures, God applies Christ’s work to us by the Spirit in time .

I see no reason you can’t agree here, unless he is adding some underlying meaning to this?

This requires repenting and seeking forgiveness on an ongoing basis. As we confess our sin, God forgives us on the basis of Christ alone.

I also see no problem with this statement. The only thing I could think he is trying to infer here might be the words Christ alone also means repent to Christ alone (no priests aloud). I would probably not get into that argument here though.

We are always complete in Christ, yet we are also in real relationship with God. By analogy, in human relationships we know something of this truth. As a parent, I am in relationship with my five children. Because they are my family, they will never be cast out; the relationship is permanent.

My response here would be I totally agree and would just like to add as a father of 5 myself I know I also know that I will never cast my children out, however they have the freedom to walk away from me and never talk to me again. Yes I will always forgive them of the sins that strain our relationship. However, if they walk away I will still love them and a part of that love is not forcing them to restore a relationship they do not want.

In asking God to forgive us, we add nothing to Christ’s perfect work.


Not seeing any major contradictions in this article, I think the problem is the article doesn’t paint a full picture.

Hope this helps,

God Bless

Great, so what would be a good way to “paint a full picture”?

It’s difficult to paint a “full picture”, without knowing what you reformist brother in law is trying to show how this article supports his belief.

Like I already pointed out, there really is nothing majorly contrary to the Catholic Faith in this article.

If you want me to paint you a fuller picture you would need to tell me what he thinks this article is saying.

When it comes to interpretation context is king. There is no way of knowing the point of the author of this article without knowing in what context he is writing.

On a final note, if you want to paint the fuller picture for your brother in law I would probably start by saying.

Everything you have said is very informative and interesting. However, I read the Bible everyday and I am not coming up with the same interpretations as you are. Could you help me out by showing me how the Holy Spirit gave you any more authority to interpret scripture than He gave me?

Basically, in the end it all has to come back to authority. You can throw Bible verses at each other until the cows come home and not get through to one another. Without an authority we can make the Bible say whatever we want it to say. All we have to do is pick one verse and read the rest of the Bible through that lens. If he ever says to you "I don’t know (or need to know) the interpretation of that verse. All I know is it can’t mean what you think it means because the Bible states (whatever their theology is) over here.

If he is willing to talk about authority then you have a chance to have a civil conversation, if not it comes down to your interpretation against his. Which means you will get no where.

If you want to give me more info I’ll help you the best I can. But that article is to vague to paint a fuller picture.

God Bless

Try this

Romans 16:17-20 , & Galatians 5:19-21 This Greek word διχοστασίας dichostasia = division / dissension / factions /sedition (is the same word in both Rom 16:17 And Gal 5:19…) the consequences for dividing from the Catholic Church is I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. [Gal 5:21]

IOW once someone knows the truth of the Catholic Church, and either divides from her, or won’t return to unity, and remains in division from the Catholic Church, they won’t be saved.

That’s where the phrase came from
“outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation”

One might say that wasn’t Jesus talking that was Paul talking.

The HS that inspired Paul, [John 14:25-26] to condemn division which ultimately came from Jesus John 16:12-15. And since Jesus will judge all souls, Jesus is telling us in advance through the HS, through Paul, how He will judge division from His Church.

Jesus wants and describes perfect unity that He wants John 17:20-23. Nothing else but that unity will do. Otherwise He wouldn’t have given such a terrible consequence to a soul if they divide from His Church in this life and die in that state of separation. Separation from Him in this life, means eternal separation from Him in the next life.

So one might ask, how do we know it’s the Catholic Church being spoken of, and how do we know the consequence spoken of by Paul is how bishops who followed the apostles understood it to be?

Acts, 9:31
“The Church throughout all”
ἐκκλησία = church,
καθ’ = according to ,
ὅλης = whole / all / complete / universal ,
τῆς = the = the Kataholos Church = the Catholic Church.

Bp Ignatius of Antioch,
• ordained by apostles in ~68 a.d., ( that is before Acts & Revelation are written)
• is a direct disciple of St John the apostle,
wrote the following in ~107 a.d.
Re: the Catholic Church. Ignatius uses Christian (ch 2) and Catholic Church (ch 8) Epistle to the Smyrnæans

Re: schismatics from the Catholic Church. Ignatius says they won’t be going to heaven Epistle to the Philadelphians (ch 3) .

Is there any doubt where he got that teaching from?

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