Since we have reached the 1,000 post maximum on “The sufficiency of Christ” thread, we will continue on the parallel topic of “The sufficiency of Grace” as part two of our discussion with the intent for us to grow in our love for the Lord Jesus Christ as one big happy family.
“The Council of Trent anathematizes anyone who says you can be saved without the grace of God. The Reformers, however, never claimed Rome believed you can be saved apart from grace. That wasn’t the debate. The debate of the Reformation was never, ever about the necessity of grace, it was always about the sufficiency of grace. That remains the issue today in so many contexts.” - James White
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
We must have faith in God’s grace. We are saved by grace through faith, but not faith alone. We must remain in the state of grace by avoiding mortal sin, sin which “leads to death”, as Saint John puts it. Saint Paul also mentions that there are sins that cause us to lose the Kingdom of God.
By the way, I love your signature. It’s refreshing to see a Protestant with seemingly no signs of anti-Catholicism or misguided assumptions regarding the Faith.
Please check out this post from a Catholic college professor and let me know what you think about it. Here’s part of it to get your attention.
"But many Catholics to this day have not learned the Catholic and biblical doctrine. They think we are saved by good intentions or being nice or sincere or trying a little harder or doing a sufficient number of good deeds. Over the past twenty-five years I have asked hundreds of Catholic college students the question: If you should die tonight and God asks you why he should let you into heaven, what would you answer? The vast majority of them simply do not know the right answer to this, the most important of all questions, the very essence of Christianity. They usually do not even mention Jesus!
Until we Catholics know the foundation, Protestants are not going to listen to us when we try to teach them about the upper stories of the building. Perhaps God allows the Protestant/Catholic division to persist not only because Protestants have abandoned many precious truths taught by the Church but also because many Catholics have never been taught the most precious truth of all, that salvation is a free gift of grace, accepted by faith. I remember vividly the thrill of discovery when, as a young Protestant at Calvin College, I read Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent on justification. I did not find what I had been told I would find, “another gospel” of do-it-yourself salvation by works, but a clear and forceful statement that we can do nothing without God’s grace, and that this grace, accepted by faith, is what saves us".
Well, if someone were to ask me if I would go to heaven if I were to die tonight, I would leave it up to God, as these people are doing. It isn’t my call. I trust in God’s mercy and leave the rest up to Him.
And yes, I agree, we are saved by grace through faith, but please note that nowhere does it say that we are saved by faith alone. Think of it this way: Satan believes in God, but he’s not in heaven. If we do not have works, our faith is dead, according to Saint James. If we fall into mortal sin, we can’t presume that God will forgive us just because he can; that’s a pretty disrespectful way of looking at His mercy, and it gives us sort of a license to sin. It’s rather like a child playing baseball and accidentally breaking someone’s window. They could feel bad about this and apologize sincerely, and the owner of the house with the broken window will likely say, “It’s okay, I forgive you,” but I’m pretty sure that they will want the child to pay for the broken window. Likewise, if we sin mortally, we need to repair the broken window of our errors, so to speak. It’s only fair and just to do so. If we were to say, “Why should I, since I’ve been forgiven?”, it would reveal a selfish motive, to only desire our own well-being, rather than the well-being of others. It denies the need for charity.
The answer to that was previously given here, which you had conveniently ignored. In any case, quoting something out of context from a Catholic “professor” doesn’t cut it. Who is this “professor”? What is the basis of his claim? What are his arguments? Do Catholics agree that he has got the Catholic position right? Do Catholics really believe that they are saved by “good works” and “good intentions” alone, without the merits of Christ? I am not a Catholic; but it doesn’t seem to me that they do. So why do you post this kind of trash? You just want to tick off Catholics or do you have some other motive?
I think it’s interesting to get clarification on where the Catholic Church stands on these issues zee, and that is in fact what the heart of this thread is about.
Where do we differ in our sufficiency of Christ? 2nd is not attacking Catholics or claiming that they ALL believe this way, but merely pointing out that some Catholics do hold to this view. We could say the same for any denomination though, there are always those who are more cafeteria than devout in their religion and doctrines.
Anyhow, I’m very curious to see where this thread leads as it is about clarifying and discussing the differences between us (protestants and Catholics) in our sufficiency of Christ.
I think you have a good understanding of the Catholic position on works Zee, much better than our protestant friends. They like to think they know what we believe and then base all of their arguments on that misunderstanding.
The article is written by Peter Kreeft. He is a professor of philosophy at Boston College. He is well regarded in Catholic circles and I think his stuff is good. It can be difficult to follow at times but it is none the less helpful.
Let’s see what Kreeft says:
When Luther taught that we are saved by faith alone, he meant by salvation only the initial step, justification, being put right with God. But when Trent said we are saved by good works as well as faith, they meant by salvation the whole process by which God brings us to our eternal destiny and that process includes repentance, faith, hope, and charity, the works of love.
The word faith was also used in two different senses. Luther used it in the broad sense of the person’s acceptance of God’s offer of salvation. It included repentance, faith, hope, and charity. This is the sense Saint Paul uses in Romans. But in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul uses it in a more specific sense, as just one of the three theological virtues, with hope and charity added to it. In this narrower sense faith alone is not sufficient for salvation, for hope and charity must be present also. That is the sense used by the old Baltimore Catechism too: faith is “an act of the intellect, prompted by the will, by which we believe what has been revealed on the grounds of the authority of God, who revealed it”.
This “faith”, though prompted by the will, is an act of the intellect. Though necessary for salvation, it is not sufficient. Even the devils have this faith, as Saint James writes: “Do you believe that there is only one God? Good! The demons also believe — and tremble with fear” (James 2: 19). That is why James says, “it is by his actions that a person is put right with God, and not by his faith alone” (James 2:24). Luther, however, called James’ epistle “an epistle of straw”. He did not understand James’ point (applied to Abraham’s faith): “Can’t you see? His faith and his action worked together; his faith was made perfect through his actions” (James 2:2 2).
The split of the Protestant Reformation began when a Catholic discovered a Catholic doctrine in a Catholic book. It can end only when both Protestants and Catholics do the same thing today and understand what they are doing: discovering a Catholic doctrine in a Catholic book.
I feel it is very disingenuous for Adam to take the beliefs of cradle Catholics who have never understood the churches teachings and pin those beliefs on the Church as a whole.
You would feel the same if I took the beliefs of a severly backslidden protestant and claimed that those beliefs represented all of protestant teaching.
Adam is quite good at misdirection and misrepresentation. He will often proof text to prove his point. I have seen him post well thought out posts so I know he is capable but he often reverts back to his bad habits.
I would say, “well I must be dreaming” and then continue on sleeping. Hopefully it is a Saturday or Sunday morning.
Anyways this is because He would not ask this question. It’s a nice ‘tradition of men’ and all but our salvation is by Grace alone and is not dependant on a multiple choice test taken after we have left this world.
Christianity is a work-based salvation only so far as it is understood that Christ has done the work. We, however, cannot work our way into heaven so, as it applies to us, it is not a work-based system.
Yes, I understand the question fully. I was simply pointing out to Adam that his attempted trickery was seen for exactly what it was.
I would say that his attempts at appologetics are indeed kindergarten at best.
Come on you guys, let’s have some substantive discussion here. Why resort to these smoke and mirrors whenever difficult questions are raised? And don’t go simply copying and pasting other peoples ideas. Tell us what YOU think and why you think that way.