Scripture on Salvation and the Eucharist

=fxcc;6903125]Thank you for your good comments.

AQnd I thank you for yours.

Here’s all the proof **I **need to reject sola fide. And it’s so simple!

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”
He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The priest and the Levite both (assumedly) had faith, but **principally **because Jewish law did not permit touching of corpses, they did not stop to help a man they suspected could be dead. Indeed, they both passed him “on the other side of the road”, to avoid any risk of defilement. Contrasting this, the Samaritan - a “faithless” man, arguably - under no strictures of the law, undertook a work of love. Jesus uses this parable to teach a man who Scripture tells us “wished to justify himself” - i.e. someone who wanted to be (or at least be seen to be) right with God. In this lesson on true justification, Jesus clearly emphasises the good work of the Samaritan - without giving any noticeable credit to the faith (and adherence to works of law) of the priest and the Levite.

The other day, I was reading Matthew 25 when a word jumped straight out at me - the word “righteous”. The ones who did the good works are described as “righteous” (verses 37 and 46). They are led into heaven, while the rest are described as “accursed”. Pretty strong stuff, eh? There’s nothing in the entire story about the ones who had faith (let alone “faith alone”) also being led into heaven along with the doers of works of love.

Jesus came to earth principally to do. We too are here principally to do. The man who has little or no faith but instinctively does the will of God (which is the natural law of love, written on every human heart) has a far better chance of being found just before God than someone who believes that by a mere confession of faith (which is sadly, all too often, just cheap or emotional self talk) one is guaranteed to be viewed by the Father as just and deserving of heaven. Of course, all the believing &/or doing of good works are made possible only by grace, a free gift from God to **all **men. This is why the Church teaches that even those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ, can be saved. Precisely the Good Samaritans, the doers of good works. Their **actions **testify to grace led beliefs which they themselves probably don’t always know they have!!! :confused: :smiley:

In many ways, I agree. If one things they can profess faith, and not do good works, they are mistaken. When Lutherans speak of faith, we speak of an active, living faith. A faith that has no works, as exampled by the levite and the priest, is a dead faith, and not a saving faith.

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Amen

Jon

=reindeer;6903591]If I’m not mistaken, Martin Luther thought about removing the book of James from the bible but in the end left it in.

Overstating, perhaps. Luther, like many others, questioned the authorship of James but based on long-time acceptance as canon, he did, too.

This may or may not apply to your situation, but some people enjoy being obnoxious like
this person.

To whom are you referring?

Jon

Yes, indeed there is a tremendous gap between the Lutheran and Calvinist understanding here, and I think much of this is due to the denial of active reprobation in Lutheran (and Catholic) theologies but the acceptance of it in Calvinist. In other words, while Lutherans and Calvinists believe that the elect are predestined for salvation (and Catholics are allowed to believe such - this is the Augustinian school of thought - but not required to believe such), Calvinists also believe that the damned are predestined to Hell while Lutherans (and Catholics, without exception) believe the damned are condemned by their actions and faithlessness. Do I have that correct?

This is the heart of many disagreements, we don’t understand what each other are saying. It may be helpful to point out that Christ’s sacrifice is once for all men (1 Pt 3:18) so that the only “new” thing brought to the Mass is the transubstantiation (or consubstantiation, if you will) of the specific bread and wine into Body and Blood. This opposition of our “re-sacrificing” Christ again and again is actually quite ancient, was brought up by Pagan Rome during the persecutions (as blood libel, with the added little bit that we were actually sacrificing a living human being) and was refuted by Justin Martyr in his Second Apology.

While I find it fascinating that Luther used the term “blockheads” nearly 450 BCH (Before Charlie Brown) let’s keep the discussion civil, please (ie, watch the references to obnoxious little persons). It’s been enjoyable so far and our Lutheran guest, Jon, has really been adding to the discussion in the way of helping to clarify and offer support, even where he may disagree with Catholicism. Such ecumenism is always appreciated here.

=losh14;6908054]Yes, indeed there is a tremendous gap between the Lutheran and Calvinist understanding here, and I think much of this is due to the denial of active reprobation in Lutheran (and Catholic) theologies but the acceptance of it in Calvinist. In other words, while Lutherans and Calvinists believe that the elect are predestined for salvation (and Catholics are allowed to believe such - this is the Augustinian school of thought - but not required to believe such), Calvinists also believe that the damned are predestined to Hell while Lutherans (and Catholics, without exception) believe the damned are condemned by their actions and faithlessness. Do I have that correct?

Correct, specifically, faithlessness.

This is the heart of many disagreements, we don’t understand what each other are saying. It may be helpful to point out that Christ’s sacrifice is once for all men (1 Pt 3:18) so that the only “new” thing brought to the Mass is the transubstantiation (or consubstantiation, if you will) of the specific bread and wine into Body and Blood. This opposition of our “re-sacrificing” Christ again and again is actually quite ancient, was brought up by Pagan Rome during the persecutions (as blood libel, with the added little bit that we were actually sacrificing a living human being) and was refuted by Justin Martyr in his Second Apology

Or sacramantal union or metabole. :slight_smile:

I agree with you regarding many of our disagreements. In another thread over on the non-catholics forum, a poster linked a you-tube video of an LCMS pastor who made comparsons between Lutheran and Catholic beliefs regarding the Blessed Virgin. He represented Catholic veneration of Mary as adoration. Could have been a simple misspeak, or lack of knowledge, but if you’re going to refer to someone else’s beliefs, it seems to me you need to get them right.

Jon

Thanks for your kind words. I agree it is best to leave the polemics and insults in the 1600’s, as they do nothing for us today.

Jon

You’re right there Jon.

The question then is how can some Protestant denominations get it so wrong?

Would it not be due to the two pillars of the reformation - Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura.

If one insists that man is saved by “faith alone” (and Luther was insistent on adding the “alone” bit) then is it any wonder that some would insist on it as well and consider works as unnecessary?

Also, since Luther was insistent on “faith alone” as the means of salvation, why is works necessary when “faith alone” is enough?

Does not the term “faith alone” mean the exclusion of everything else?

Peace!

Cory

If he truly believes that works “take away from grace,” what does he think of the story of the last judgment in the Gospel of Matthew? (Matt 25:31ff)

In that reading, the Lord separates the sheep from the goats, assigning them to heaven or hell based entirely on what they did or failed to do–i.e., their works. Could the goats not have responded, “Lord, I would have done all of that, but I thought it would take away from grace?”

:rotfl::rotfl:Short, sweet and to the point :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

rben 20, Your situation is one never easy to deal with because even when proof is given from the bible “bible” christians still reject it. I hope this helps you. First ask your friend to show you the verse “All truths binding on Christians must be found in the bible”. Don’t worry he won’t be able to. Next have him read Matthew Chapter 25 verses 31 to 46 out loud from his bible. Then ask him did Jesus say we’ll be saved by how much faith we have, or by what we do or fail to do? Next have him read the Gospel of John Chapter 6 verses 51 to 69, again out loud. Your friend will claim Jesus is speaking symbolically. Point out to him that no where in the text does Jesus claim to be speaking symbolically. Then point out to him nowhere in the bible does it state as strongly and instructive more so than it does in that chapter that we are drawn to Christ and saved. And finally let your friend know The Catholic Church has never and will never be able to re-sacrifice Christ. I know it’s a re-presentation. You know it’s a re-presentation. The Church states it’s a re-presentation. There is not one iota of proof that it’s a re-sacrifice. Your position is much sronger by also referring to James and 1 Corinthians. Tell your friend he is NOT a “bible believing” christian. He’s a believer of popular protestant propganda and lies. Stay strong. Stay Catholic and always remember The Bible is a Catholic book.

I like this point. There is nothing we can “offer” on an altar that would be the unblemished sacrifice God deserves and requires. Some Protestants routinely offer “sacrifices of praise” or present themselves to God at an “altar,” but these are all deeply blemished sacrifices at their best when compared to the Lamb of God!

And peace also with you, Cory.

Justified by faith “alone”, as in the exclusion of what we do, as you would agree regarding what Catholics call “initial Justification”. It is only by Grace alone through faith in Christ that we come to justification. If one believes that by one’s actions or intent they can come to faith and justification, this approaches pelagianism, which we both agree is heresy, and which, incidentally, came up long before Luther.

From the JDDJ:

In faith we together hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. *Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.*11]

16.All people are called by God to salvation in Christ. Through Christ alone are we justified, when we receive this salvation in faith. Faith is itself God’s gift through the Holy Spirit who works through word and sacrament in the community of believers and who, at the same time, leads believers into that renewal of life which God will bring to completion in eternal life.

Faith alone never means the exclusion of our responsibility to conform our lives to the commands of Christ. We are justified by faith alone, but faith is never alone.

Jon

The line you quoted from the JDDJ is more appropriate. Sola Gratia not Sola Fide.

Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.11]

The problem is, it is Sola Fide that most people hold to not knowing that this doctrine is actually an invention of the reformers.

I have been spending most of my CAF time of late in a thread on Predestination and I can see how one can come to Calvin’s horrible conclusion when one holds to Sola Fide.

Peace and Joy of Christ!

And also with you.

I agree with the bolded! One can misconstrue and distort sola fide, just as some Catholics over the centuries have miscontrued and distorted dulia into latria.

Jon

Actually they are not quite the same.

When Catholics went over the top with their homage to Our Lady and the Saints, it was because of lack of proper Catechesis.

In the case of Predestination, this doctrine follows perfectly from SOLA FIDE which IS Protestant doctrine. Adoration of our Our Lady is NOT a Catholic doctrine.

Peace and Joy of Christ!

And His peace with you also.

Obviously, it doesn’t follow perfectly, or Lutherans would be Calvinists (and I wouldn’t be Lutheran).

Jon

Actually it does.

However it is altogether a different thing for people to follow the conclusions from this doctrine.

Here’s how. Sola Fide says we are saved by Faith Alone. And this faith is specifically faith in Jesus Christ. Since Sola Fide also says that this faith is given by God, it follows therefore that those who do not have faith have been denied this faith by God. If this is the case, then since the precondition for salvation (according to Sola Fide) is faith alone, then we can conclude that those who do not have faith have been intentionally made so by God with the whole purpose of damning them.

Though Lutherans will not follow this to its logical conclusion, this nonetheless follow from Sola Fide.

I don’t think you believe so much in Sola Fide but more Sola Gratia (as you have mentioned a few times) and by your affirmation of the JDDJ.

Peace and Joy of Christ!

So “faith alone” does not refute the necessity of living a holy life, but rather insists that justification (being made right with God) is not impacted by what we do, only what we believe. As a cradle Catholic, I was initially justified by my baptism. If you were likewise baptised as an infant in your Lutheran church, Jon, is that a source of justification as well, or is your justification considered to have begun with the first time you believed? This isn’t a trick, I’m trying to understand how the difference in justification translates to a difference in our treatments of baptism.

Pelagianism is such an interesting heresy because there’s a kernal of truth in it, though not enough to leaven the loaf. Jerome’s primary condemnation of the Pelagians was for their insistence that man could live without sinning simply by choosing not to do so. The Scriptural tenets that this violates are obvious, but we can discuss if we need to.

The kernal here is that we can choose to do good, at least some of the time, whenever we comply with the Lord, and that doing good can bolster faith, and James seems to imply that it is necessary to keep faith alive. What condemns Pelagianism universally (unless you’re Swedenborg) is its assertion that we can be justified by works alone, or rather by the absence of sin.

I don’t know if Jerome’s objection to Pelagianism is in line with Lutheran theology, but I think Calvinism condemns Pelagianism and disagrees with the Catholic objection to it where predestination of the elect means we cannot choose to do good because it is chosen for us. Calvinists still condemn Pelagianism but through condemning free will (correct me if I’m wrong or have grossly oversimplified this).

Back to topic at hand:

Where works come in is as evidence and edification of the individual who is undergoing sanctification. On this, I think Lutherans and Catholics very much agree (though we may not call it a complete explanation of the purpose of works), and probably Calvinists as well.

Where Catholics differ in this is that we see justification as continuous, while Luther made a distinction between initial justification and the sanctification that follows it. I know the theological distinctions are sublime (ie, of deep significance, though perhaps not easy to tease out), but I think the form of a life that follows initial justification and then endures sanctification, and the form of a life that follows initial justification through final justification, are scarcely different.

I’ve found that observant Lutherans and observant Catholics often live very similar lives in terms of morality and worldview, in general, and perhaps I can extend this to many Reform Protestants. It’s not until we get to a more radical view (ie, “works contravene faith” or “I’m saved once and don’t need to do anything else ever”) - and this is more fringe but for some reason fairly common where I live - that there’s this utter divorce between faith and works that I think was never intended.

…and finally, Back to the OP

Jon, what do you think is the role of the Eucharist in salvation, and how does consubstantiation (as opposed to it being a symbolic re-creation, as some Protestant churches teach) relate to that? I think we’ve seen the Catholic perspective and I’m curious to see yours.

=losh14;6940747]So “faith alone” does not refute the necessity of living a holy life, but rather insists that justification (being made right with God) is not impacted by what we do, only what we believe.

Rather, what we do does not add to what Christ has done. But yes, Justification is monergistic - it is what the Holy Spirit does in us to bring us to faith. Nevertheless, we are free to reject His work in us. and our actions can even drive saving faith out.

As a cradle Catholic, I was initially justified by my baptism. If you were likewise baptised as an infant in your Lutheran church, Jon, is that a source of justification as well, or is your justification considered to have begun with the first time you believed? This isn’t a trick, I’m trying to understand how the difference in justification translates to a difference in our treatments of baptism.

Faith comes from the presence of the holy Spirit in us, which initially starts at Baptism. Baptism forgives sins, and brings us into grace. I’m not certain that our views of Baptism different much.

Pelagianism is such an interesting heresy because there’s a kernal of truth in it, though not enough to leaven the loaf. Jerome’s primary condemnation of the Pelagians was for their insistence that man could live without sinning simply by choosing not to do so. The Scriptural tenets that this violates are obvious, but we can discuss if we need to.

The kernal here is that we can choose to do good, at least some of the time, whenever we comply with the Lord, and that doing good can bolster faith, and **James seems to imply that it is necessary to keep faith alive. **What condemns Pelagianism universally (unless you’re Swedenborg) is its assertion that we can be justified by works alone, or rather by the absence of sin.

When Catholics speak of initial justification, I think we agree that we cannot come to justification by our actions or works, that this comes to us by Grace alone through faith
in Christ. I am cautious with your take on James (bolded), as we believe that it is the Holy Spirit that bolsters faith. If you are saying works are necessary to keep faith alive because choosing not to do good works (sin!) drives the Spirit out (by our choice to reject Him), then I agree.

I don’t know if Jerome’s objection to Pelagianism is in line with Lutheran theology, but I think Calvinism condemns Pelagianism and disagrees with the Catholic objection to it where predestination of the elect means we cannot choose to do good because it is chosen for us. Calvinists still condemn Pelagianism but through condemning free will (correct me if I’m wrong or have grossly oversimplified this).

I think you are right. We condemn the Calvinist approach also. Because of this, and their view of the Eucharist, I would be Catholic long before Calvinist.

continued

Back to topic at hand:

Where works come in is as evidence and edification of the individual who is undergoing sanctification. On this, I think Lutherans and Catholics very much agree (though we may not call it a complete explanation of the purpose of works), and probably Calvinists as well.

I believe so, though I can’t speak for Calvinists.

Where Catholics differ in this is that we see justification as continuous, while Luther made a distinction between initial justification and the sanctification that follows it. I know the theological distinctions are sublime (ie, of deep significance, though perhaps not easy to tease out), but I think the form of a life that follows initial justification and then endures sanctification, and the form of a life that follows initial justification through final justification, are scarcely different.

This is my belief, as well, which is why when talking about sola fide I often reference “initial justification”.

I’ve found that observant Lutherans and observant Catholics often live very similar lives in terms of morality and worldview, in general, and perhaps I can extend this to many Reform Protestants. It’s not until we get to a more radical view (ie, “works contravene faith” or “I’m saved once and don’t need to do anything else ever”) - and this is more fringe but for some reason fairly common where I live - that there’s this utter divorce between faith and works that I think was never intended.

Agreed.

…and finally, Back to the OP

Jon, what do you think is the role of the Eucharist in salvation, and how does consubstantiation (as opposed to it being a symbolic re-creation, as some Protestant churches teach) relate to that? I think we’ve seen the Catholic perspective and I’m curious to see yours.

Well first, consubstantiation is not a Lutheran term, and most Lutherans reject it on similar metaphysical grounds that we reject Transubstantiation. I, personally, am satisfied with Melanchthon’s description in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession:
we confess that we believe, that in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered, with those things which are seen, bread and wine, to those who receive the Sacrament. This belief we constantly defend, as the subject has been carefully examined and considered. For since Paul says, 1 Cor. 10:16, that the bread is the communion of the Lord’s body, etc., it would follow, if the Lord’s body were not truly present, that the bread is not a communion of the body, but only of the spirit of Christ. 55] And we have ascertained that not only the Roman Church affirms the bodily presence of Christ, but the Greek Church also both now believes, and formerly believed, the same. For the canon of the Mass among them testifies to this, in which the priest clearly prays that the bread may be changed and become the very body of Christ. And Vulgarius, who seems to us to be not a silly writer, says distinctly that bread is not a mere figure, but 56] is truly changed into flesh.

As a Lutheran, I see the Eucharist as His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins. It is, along with Baptism and Confession/Absolution, central in the life of a Christian, as a means of Grace, how He makes grace available to us, helping and strengthening us in our sanctification, to conform our lives to His, and guide us back when we drift away.
I don’t know if that answers your question.
Jon

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