15 September, 2010

Quebec's collective depression

Quebec's collective depression

116 comments:

  1. Y'know...I have a problem with "one size fits all" social pronouncements. One size never fits anyone, sometimes not even those who make the pronouncements.

    All this anti-right-to-die rhetoric is simply pandering to the fears of those who see death as a terrible thing that must be avoided at all costs. No one can avoid death. It is as natural as life. And it is even more inevitable than taxes. So what's everyone afraid of? Being shoved into it by someone else? Yes, it happens. The answer is to take preventive measures.

    But what if that's your own choice? What if someone makes the choice for himself, but needs some assistance to accomplish his own death? Why should he be forced to remain alive just because somebody else is full of an irrational fear?

    I don't get people. I really don't. We purport to give the gift of a gentle and loving death to a suffering animal, but we force one another to live lives in agony because we -- not the sufferer -- are afraid? We are truly a twisted species.

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  2. Lady Janus: IF people actually still died in agony, it is only because they have an incompetent doctor. Pain control as part of palliative care is now so advanced while there may be some diminishing of awareness (being REALLY STONED does that to you), the pain is not an issue.

    What concerns me about euthanasia is that without exception, where ever it is practiced, very soon the State or other family members start making the decision for the patient. Have you seen the Australian's government's ads promoting the consideration of MANDATORY euthanasia? Why spend money on the dying when it could be spent on those with a chance to live? It's better for everyone if the state medical services offer a quick and painless end! Look it up. It will chill you to bone!!! They didn't stay on the air long before a general outrage caused the government to pull them, but it is reflective of how this will go if we legalize euthanasia.

    Further, if a person does not to be treated for an illness, he/she has the right to refuse treatment and to receive palliative care instead. That's what Trudeau did. He was diagnosed with cancer shortly before his son was killed in the avalanche. He refused treatment and food, and accepted only medication to let him die without pain.

    If we have this right, why do we need euthanasia?

    Fr. Tim

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  3. Another problem with euthanasia is that it leads to a very slippery slope...not just for the elderly but for the newborn who the dr. says will never have any quality of life so should "be put out of their misery"...and with the advance of science a cure is found...how do folks live with that?...God is the author of life and we need to never forget that...

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  4. "What concerns me about euthanasia is that without exception, where ever it is practiced, very soon the State or other family members start making the decision for the patient."

    That may be the case. I don't know, since I don't spend a lot of time worrying about other countries and how they run their social programs (and whether or not I trust the sources of those scare tactics, which mostly I don't). However, keep in mind that everything that was ever done right was done wrong first. So why not we be the ones to get it right?

    And when I said, "agony," perhaps I should have clarified that I don't mean only physical pain. Agony for a concert pianist might be rheumatoid arthritis. Agony for a painter might be blindness. For a dancer it might be an amputation. What would agony be for you (no, don't actually answer that...just please think about it)?

    Besides, I have no wish to spend the end of my life being stoned and unable to live as I wish. And I don't care what Trudeau did. I am not him. If I come to the end of my life in an untenable state, I will take steps to hurry death along. It is no big deal, death (and I can "see" several readers cringing at that statement; just y'all please keep in mind that I am part of a culture different from yours, and what scares the dickens outa you does not bother me in the least, 'kay?). Completely natural. And, as I said before, utterly inevitable.

    @Mary: Your god might very well be the author of your life. That is your choice. But I am the author of mine. And I will not allow plagiarism. ;D

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  5. I am actually seriously curious: why are so many people so afraid of death?

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  6. Lady Janus: Beats me! I look at death as the time when I will receive my reward of faithfulness to loving God & neighbor. It's a day I look forward to!

    Fr. Tim

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  7. Lady Janus,

    I would think the reason many people fear death is because they suspect there is something after death but are unsure of what it is. Some might fear a judgment by a God who will hold them accountable for their actions. According to the Bible, this is a legitimate fear, but there is a Saviour who is willing to save all who come unto God by Him. So before you boldly go rushing into eternity or pulling the plug on your life, it might be worth considering. Once a person has exited this life, there is no turning back and no second chance.

    Tim Moyle,

    The apostle Paul spoke about being absent from the body and present with the Lord. If you have that assurance, good for you. You would be a rare RC who believes that way, don't you think?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the official teaching of the RC church that nobody can have the assurance that they will be with the Lord after death and be in heaven? Isn't it RC teaching that RCs are judged according to their sins and good works and must make atonement in purgatory an unknown number of years (could it be thousands or millions?), for sins that were never satisfied for or atoned for in this life? So isn't it correct to say that Roman Catholicism gives no real assurance to anyone and all must suffer an unknown period of time in purgatory?

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  8. Lady Janus...i am not afraid to die...I believe that life does not end but is changed and that, as the Bible tells us,(ST. Paul's 1st letter to Corinthians) "eye has not seen nor ear heard nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him".I firmly believe we achieve this by always remembering that we are here to see others through and not to see through others.

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  9. STG: I think you are looking at the teaching of the Church from the wrong angle. The Church offers the teaching about assurance to remind us that no one knows the state of another soul before God. It is always used as such: we cannot say that someone's soul has been denied God's grace and forgiveness - irrespective of what human understanding might lead us to conclude. The 'Good Thief' was rightly condemned for his acts, yet Christ assured him of a place in heaven.

    As to Purgatory: you are making the mistake of 'time'.

    Catholic Theology teaches us that everything that exists, including time, exists in this reality. Time does not exist in eternity. So, to be denied the fullness of the God's love even for an instant will be like thousands or millions of years. Further, the Church teaches that every soul in purgatory enters into heaven with God. It is simply the state by which we are washed of the temporal effects of our sin so as to be brought before God able to experience the Beatific Vision and survive the encounter.

    This teaching was GREATLY abused prior to the period of the Reformation. It is not such today.

    Fr. Tim

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  10. STG: One last point. Catholics receive the 'blessed assurance' and enjoy its wonder and peace just as anyone else who has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. It does require a 'rebirth' (aka 'born again') - a process that begins with baptism and continues to a point where an individual takes up the mantle of a saved/redeemed Christian and lives it to the fullest.

    I thank God - FIRST THING every morning for the gift of Christ and for the assurance that he will bring me to paradise at the end of my days.

    In this, I am hardly unique among Catholics.

    Fr. Tim

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  11. "So before you boldly go rushing into eternity or pulling the plug on your life, it might be worth considering."

    Wayne, nothing of what you said previous to this statement applies to me. I know you have a difficult time imagining that there are people in this world who don't (and have no wish to) believe as you do, but do give it a little effort, willya, please? Your god is not mine. Your book is not mine. And your fear is not mine.

    @Mary: If you truly live your beliefs, then good for you! But the question was, "Why do people fear death?" not, "Why are you afraid to die?" It wasn't a personal question.

    It's like this: People often say, "I'd rather die than do such-and-such!" That indicates that the fear or revulsion of such-and-such is even greater than their fear and revulsion of death, which is seen as The Great Enemy. Thus, they indicate the degree to which they are unwilling to do such-and-such by declaring it to be worse than death -- a concept about which they do not think or philosophize, and of which they know little, but the fear of which they are absolutely certain that everyone else understands!

    But my question is...what, exactly, are they "understanding?"

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  12. Lady Janus...perhaps one answer to your excellent question is what is it they don't understand and that lack of a definite understanding may bring fear of the unknown...i can tell you that my understanding comes from my God given gift of faith and my prayer for my fellow journiers, regardless of color, creed etc is that , at the time of our death, we will hear what the good thief heard..:this day u will be with Me in paradise..

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  13. Tim,

    "STG: I think you are looking at the teaching of the Church from the wrong angle. The Church offers the teaching about assurance to remind us that no one knows the state of another soul before God. It is always used as such: we cannot say that someone's soul has been denied God's grace and forgiveness - irrespective of what human understanding might lead us to conclude. The 'Good Thief' was rightly condemned for his acts, yet Christ assured him of a place in heaven."

    Ah but don't priests, yourself included, have the power to withhold forgiveness for sins? If you have the power to absolve sins in the confessional, don't you also have the power to withhold absolution if you felt there is a reason for doing so? If you withhold absolution (or forgivenss) are you not withholding God's grace and forgiveness, according to RC teaching?

    Isn't it true that Roman Catholics fear falling into mortal sin and being lost? If that is the case, please tell me how Roman Catholics can have assurance of salvation. How can one have assurance of going to heaven if according to Roman doctrine they fall into mortal sin and can be lost?

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  14. Tim,

    "STG: One last point. Catholics receive the 'blessed assurance' and enjoy its wonder and peace just as anyone else who has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. It does require a 'rebirth' (aka 'born again') - a process that begins with baptism and continues to a point where an individual takes up the mantle of a saved/redeemed Christian and lives it to the fullest."

    So according to what you said, becoming a redeemed christian (saved and going to heaven) is a "process that begins with baptism".

    If this is the case, at what point can one say he is a redeemed, saved christian? Or is this a lifelong process during which one can never really know he has been redeemed?

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  15. Lady Janus

    "Wayne, nothing of what you said previous to this statement applies to me. I know you have a difficult time imagining that there are people in this world who don't (and have no wish to) believe as you do, but do give it a little effort, willya, please? Your god is not mine. Your book is not mine. And your fear is not mine."

    Yes, I accept the fact you have stated you have no wish to believe. This does not mean I will refrain from disagreeing with some of your points of view where I see there is a need to.

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  16. STG: You are giving WAY TOO MUCH power to the human institution of the Church.

    Yes, priests have the power to assist people to confess, but it is as an aid, not an agent. Take for example a person who would come to confession to receive absolution but is neither sincere nor complete in their confession. Just because I offer the words of ABSOLUTION (only God FORGIVES) does not mean that such a person stands in good stead before God. If absolution is withheld, (something I have never had to do in 21 yrs) it is only done as an application of St. Paul's teaching on bringing people back to Christ by shocking them with the gravity of what they are throwing away (their eternal soul).

    Fr. Tim

    (continued below)

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  17. Now let's move on to baptism and assurance. When we baptize infants, we are opening that person to becoming an inheritor of the graces won for us by the paschal mystery. Should they die before reaching a point in their life where they take person responsibility for themselves, they go to heaven. However, there comes a point where they can make a decision by the acts and deeds where they may decline this invitation of God. They can choose through sin not to follow the path that leads to God and eternal life. Put simply, the gift of salvation is offered to all - but not all will accept the gift.

    How about in your beliefs? If someone is 'born again' and then proceeds to live a life of sin and debauchery, is that person saved? They might claim salvation but do they actually receive it if they have lived their lives in an impious and unholy manner?

    I believe that it is clear that such a 'one time' act of acceptance of Jesus as Lord and savior, if it does not result in a change of life so as to follow the dictates of scripture has the capacity to throw away God's great gift. Thus 'assurance' is based upon a continuation of grace throughout life by which we continue to walk with Christ.

    Do you agree?

    Fr. Tim

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  18. "Yes, I accept the fact you have stated you have no wish to believe."

    No, Wayne, I have "stated" no such thing!

    If you're going to continue deliberately miscontruing everything I say, I'm simply going to ignore you from now on. Shape up and pay attention, please!

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  19. Aaaaaarghhh! Stupid page just jumped and deleted my comment to Mary...somebody throw something for me, willya, please, while I try to recompose it?

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  20. Lady Janus,

    ""Yes, I accept the fact you have stated you have no wish to believe."

    No, Wayne, I have "stated" no such thing!"

    OK. Sorry, I misquoted you. It was not intentional. Upon re-examining what you said on Sept. 16th, I see where I erred. I will shape up.

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  21. Tim,

    "I believe that it is clear that such a 'one time' act of acceptance of Jesus as Lord and savior, if it does not result in a change of life so as to follow the dictates of scripture has the capacity to throw away God's great gift. Thus 'assurance' is based upon a continuation of grace throughout life by which we continue to walk with Christ.

    Do you agree?"

    Tim, I want to study this a little and reply a little later because you are getting into some pretty deep but important topics.

    You mentioned throwing away God's great gift.
    Does one's salvation depend then on the individual or does it depend on God? What do you think of what Jesus said "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neith shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John ch10 vs.18

    From what you are saying about assurance, do you believe assurance (of salvation or going to heaven) depends on an individual's ability to live a holy life or in accordance with the dictates of the church? If assurance depends on the individual himself and knowing human weakness, what kind of assurance is that?

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  22. STG: I found this neat summary in preparation for my homily this weekend. You might find it helpful in your reflection on 'assurance'. (I just thought you might appreciate seeing that I am not unique in my position on this topic.

    Fr. Tim

    Jesus Christ came as the Savior, but who exactly did he come to save?

    Did he intend to save only some members of the fallen human race?

    This is what some brands of Christianity have taught and still teach.

    * John Calvin, for example, one of the most influential figures in the Protestant Reformation back in the 16th century, taught a doctrine called "double predestination".
    * This doctrine stated that from the moment when God creates a human soul, he destines that person either to heaven or to hell, and nothing the person does can change that destiny.

    But that is not true. As St Paul wrote to Timothy, "God our savior... wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

    * When Christ offered his own life as a sacrifice for our sins, he offered it as a sacrifice to atone for ALL our sins, for the sins of every human being who ever lived and who ever will live.
    * This is what St Paul means when he writes to Timothy saying that, "Christ Jesus... gave himself as ransom for all."

    God doesn't play favorites.

    * He offers the gift of salvation to every single person, and he wants every single person to accept it by believing in and following Christ.
    * But he won't force anyone to accept the gift - then it wouldn't be a gift at all.

    This is why it is not a contradiction to say that God wills the salvation of all people, but all people will not necessarily be saved.

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  23. "Does one's salvation depend then on the individual or does it depend on God?"

    Would it not depend on both? That's the way I read it, anyway.

    "...do you believe assurance...depends on an individual's ability to live a holy life or in accordance with the dictates of the church?"

    Actually, that's not what Tim said, Wayne. He said, "...follow the dictates of scripture..." But presumably as interpretted by the Church.

    "...what kind of assurance is that?"

    Now, THAT is a really good question...

    *****

    NOTE: I was about to post this reply to Wayne when Tim's answer popped into being (*let there be comment!* LOL!) I was going to delete it, but I think I'm going to let it stand.

    And to continue on...

    "He offers the gift of salvation to every single person, and he wants every single person to accept it by believing in and following Christ."

    Tim, that's where a lot of people have objections to this particular interpretation: when you give a gift, if you put conditions on its acceptance, it is no longer a gift, but a transaction.

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  24. Lady Janus: The 'gift' is the opportunity of salvation. Whether or not we pick it up and make it our own is our choice.

    Let me put it this way: would YOU (and this is a question that only an individual can answer) want God to 'force' salvation upon you if you chose not to follow His path? That would not be much of a gift, but rather it would be an imposition. We do not believe that God works that way (even if the Church has not always faithfully followed his example).

    Fr. Tim

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  25. Tim,

    "if it does not result in a change of life so as to follow the dictates of scripture has the capacity to throw away God's great gift. Thus 'assurance' is based upon a continuation of grace throughout life by which we continue to walk with Christ."

    Lady Janus is correct. She is very quick to pick up on any errors I make. That is good; it keeps me on my toes. I have quoted above what you actually said Tim. I see you are digressing into predestination.

    I think you will agree that from what you have said baptism opens the door to possible salvation. You said "However, there comes a point where they can make a decision by the acts and deeds where they may decline this invitation of God."

    Lady Janus is absolutely correct in saying this is not really a gift if conditions are attached. You have made the "gift" dependent on the individual successfully following the dictates of Scripture. In effect, you said, the "gift" creates an opportunity for salvation.

    I think you will have to agree there is no assurance for the individual who must strive for this salvation because it depends entirely on his success in following "the dictates of scripture." You may agree that the fear of not maintaining a standard, which is presumably set by the church as it is the infallible interpreter of scripture, eliminates any possibility of genuine assurance.

    If baptism only opens the door to the possibility of salvation, how do you explain what the apostle Paul said? "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians ch2 vs8,9

    What does Paul mean here when he says someone is saved by grace? Do they then have salvation or only opening the door to the possibility? What is the gift Paul is speaking about in these verses? Is it actual salvation or the possiblity of salvation?

    Where does it say this grace only makes it possible for a person to work for salvation by "following the dictates of scripture"? What does the word "grace" mean here anyway?

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  26. Tim,

    "Jesus Christ came as the Savior, but who exactly did he come to save?

    Did he intend to save only some members of the fallen human race?

    This is what some brands of Christianity have taught and still teach.

    * John Calvin, for example, one of the most influential figures in the Protestant Reformation back in the 16th century, taught a doctrine called "double predestination".
    * This doctrine stated that from the moment when God creates a human soul, he destines that person either to heaven or to hell, and nothing the person does can change that destiny."

    If God intended to save every individual, which is what you are saying in your interpretation, why is not every individual a believer? Has God failed in his purpose? Is God in complete control of the universe or is he not?

    I have heard of "double predestination", but I cannot say at the moment whether Calvin actually taught that. As you may know, John Calvin was in his younger years an RC priest to whom God revealed an enormous amount of scriptural truth and who wrote the famous book "Institutes of the Christian Religion" which cover says it is one of the ten books which shook the world. I have not read the whole book but only small parts. It is extremely well written and is an apologetic book which makes a potent and penitrating examination of much of what the RC teaches in the light of what the Bible teaches. Calvin's teaching obviously played a key role in the Reformation in the area of Geneva (his headquarters) and the Netherlands where the Reformed churches began, and later in other areas as Reformed teaching spread.

    In mentioning the subject of predestination you have put your finger on one of the main points which came out of the Reformation and the return to biblical christianity, and which is believed to have been central in the Apostolic church.

    The two schools of thought, one called Arminianism believes man plays a central role in his salvation; the other school of thought, which is exemplified in Calvinism, are the five points of Calvinism or doctrines of grace. The acronym you may have heard of is TULIP. 1. Total depravity. 2. Unconditional election. 3. Limited atonement. 4. Irresistable grace. and 5. Perseverence of the saints.

    The points you make contradict these five points. Interestingly that one of the early fathers of the RCC, Augustine, apparently was not an Arminian. He spoke against a central figure who advanced Arminianism. However, later popes apparently embraced Arminianism.

    The Bible teaches God has an eternal decree. That is that every thing that has ever happened or will happen has been predetermined. This fits in with the teaching that God is omnipotent and omniscient. The idea that God kind of "rolls the dice" or lets happen whatever happens or leaves it to man to decide his own salvation, does not fit in with an omnipotent God who is in control of the universe.

    "Known to God from eternitty are all His works." Acts 15:18

    "the eternal purpose which He accomplished" Ephesians 3:11

    It is an unchangeable purpose (Hebrews 6:17)

    "according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will" Ephesians 1:11

    Not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from your Father's will (Matthew 10:29)

    The very hairs of your head are numbered (vs 30)

    No matter how small a thing, everything is ordered by God according to his eternal plan and purpose.

    The free actions of men are also predestined by God. So they are both free and predestined. Therefore God is not the author of evil.

    "Offences must come, but woe to that man by whom the offence comes" Matthew 18:7

    This shows the certainty of an event to come, but that the guilt rests with the individual who committed the offense.

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  27. Quebec's "collective depression" and the contrived debate over euthanasia with it's perverse twists is a sad reflection on the history of that province. It has done little to implement and build in a good paliative care service. What brought it to this sad point in history?

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  28. Tim,

    I thought you might find this article from Theopedia about Augustinianism interesting.

    "Doctrinal distinctives
    Augustinianism holds that, after the Fall, mankind is unable to not sin. In other words, due to the corruption of human nature in the Fall, one's will is not free, but rather a slave to sin. As such, every person is born sinful and justly under the condemnation of God. In order for a person to be delivered from this dreadful state (i.e. saved), God must intervene. This view of the natural state of humanity is often referred to as the doctrine of total depravity.

    Grace also plays a significant role in Augustinianism. The grace of God is free, necessary, and comes before any righteous act of the sinner. Grace is usually also said to be irresistible and effectual in the sense that all who are given such grace will surely come to faith in Christ.

    Furthermore, Augustinianism has a distinct view of predestination. Grace is given to those whom God has predestined before the earth began, and is not based on the foreknowledge of God. The predestination in a fully Augustinian system is without any merit in the sinner themselves. [1]

    Early controversy
    Augustinianism is a system that grew out the controversy with Pelagius. The Pelagian system taught nearly the opposite of the Augustinian view, making salvation a choice of free will and having a less severe view of the Fall of humanity in the Garden. Augustine wrote many works against Pelagius beginning around 412. The controversy raged in North Africa and stretch to Jerusalem for many years. Several synods condemned Pelagius and his followers and at least one cleared him of all charges of heresy. Both sides appealed to the reigning Pope when matters were not easily resolved. Pope Innocent sided with Augustinianism against Pelagianism, but his successor, Pope Zosimus, was more friendly to Pelagian thought. In the end, Augustinianism triumphed at the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431. Augustinianism was declared to be the doctrine of the church and Pelagianism a heresy. Augustine himself died the year before the triumph of his doctrine.[2]"

    http://www.theopedia.com/Augustinianism

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  29. Time,

    This is the remaining part of this article of Augustinianism.

    "Latter developments
    Although Pelagianism was deemed heretical, in time a Semi-Pelagianism arose against the Augustinian view. This semi-Pelagian theology had great support in France and was declared orthodox by multiple synods, but was finally condemned in the Council of Orange in 529. However, the Council of Orange did not affirm every point of Augustinianism, leading to what is sometimes called semi-Augustinianism. The Canons of the Council of Orange affirmed the depravity of humanity after the Fall and the free nature of grace. It also asserted that grace comes first before any act of a person. However, it did not address predestination nor did it speak of the irresistible nature of grace that is clearly taught and held in Augustinian proper. Thus, a semi-Augustinianism was created that allowed for a rejection of predestination for grace to be given to all and rejected by some.

    The Protestant Reformation often referred to itself as a return to a full-fledged Augustinianism. Luther, Calvin, and other reformers often enlisted the works of Augustine in the defense of their theology. In particular, John Calvin incorporated Augustine's teachings on predestination, sovereign grace, and the depravity of man into his theology. Thus, Calvinism and Augustinianism are sometimes used synonymously."


    http://www.theopedia.com/Augustinianism

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  30. Tim,

    Roman Catholicism is closely related to Pelagianism in the sense the RCC believes and from what you said that an individual may gain his salvation himself by "following the dictates of scripture". This places man's self efforts at the forefront in an attempt to earn salvation. This is how Theopedia describes Pelagianism.

    "Pelagianism views humanity as basically good and morally unaffected by the Fall. It denies the imputation of Adam's sin, original sin, total depravity, and substitutionary atonement. It simultaneously views man as fundamentally good and in possession of libertarian free will. With regards to salvation, it teaches that man has the ability in and of himself (apart from divine aid) to obey God and earn eternal salvation. Pelagianism is overwhelmingly incompatible with the Bible and was historically opposed by Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo, leading to its condemnation as a heresy at Council of Carthage in 418 A.D. These condemnations were summarily ratified at the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431).

    http://www.theopedia.com/Pelagianism

    From what you said, you believe man has the ability to obey God and follow the dictates of scripture and thereby earn his salvation. That fits in with the definition of Pelagianism described above.

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  31. Tim, that's a concept I completely understand. Thanks.

    So...the gift is actually choice? God is Pro-Choice? "Salvation" is merely one possible result of one of those choices?

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  32. Tim,

    Although man has liberty to choose good or evil, he does not not have the ability to choose good because of his fallen nature (total depravity). That is why your doctrine of a person earning his salvation is an impossibility and contrary to Scripture. As Jesus said in John chapter 3 a person must be born again from above (by the Holy Spirit) before he can work for God. In other words, he must become a christian first; then work for God and follow Christ. Unless God first works in a person regenerating him, he can do nothing because he doesn't have the ability. As Jesus said in the gospel of John, God chooses a person; a person does not choose God. Although he is free to do so, he does not have the ability due to his fallen nature.

    God receives all the credit for a person's salvation. Man can claim no credit for his salvation and so has no right to boast. (Ephesians ch2 vs8,9) It is all of grace (unmerited favour of God). Nothing man can do can merit him heaven or eternal life otherwise it would not be grace. (see Romans chapters 3,4,and 5) Even faith to believe is a gift of God given by grace.

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  33. Tim,

    Sorry I misspelled your name in one posting.

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  34. STG: I am sorry for being so slow to respond to your excellent questions. I am being snowed under right now with funerals and deaths. I will answer your points within the next day. Thanks for your patience.

    Fr. Tim

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  35. "Catholic Theology teaches us that everything that exists, including time, exists in this reality. Time does not exist in eternity."

    That explains a difficulty I've been having on another blog. When that blogger and I are talking about realities, we are not talking about the same thing. *sigh* If I could change one thing about this language, it would be that every single nuance of each individual concept must have its own clearly distinguishable word with its own unique definition!

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  36. Wow! We are having a death avalanche here these days. Two more parishioners died today and two more are not expected to make the night! I usually have 50-60 funerals a year here and thought that this was going to be a very light year as I've only had 14 up to the beginning of September. Alas we seem to be making up for lost time!

    Please be patient with me STG. Your posts have been excellent and worthy of more than just a 'off the cuff' response. I've printed them all out and am researching and reading in my spare moments so that I can formulate a response that is worthy of your efforts in putting forth the arguments that you have.

    Tomorrow I have to spend the day in court (I've been subpoenaed as a witness in a criminal trial) and I'm going to have hours of waiting on my hands, so I'm bringing a note pad to formulate my answers.

    Fr. Tim

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  37. Tim,

    Sorry to hear about all the deaths lately. That is enough to keep you very busy. And sorry to hear you may have lost a number of friends. Going to court must also create a certain amount of stress as well. You have your plate full these days.

    No rush. I am not going anywhere.

    Wayne

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  38. Wayne:

    As our mutual friend, Father Tim is busy actually working for a living and a vocation, something that you and I have both passed on from, I thought I would add some thoughts to the excellent dialogue that has been transpiring.

    It is very difficult to fathom that this discussion started with a link to an article on the state of affairs in Quebec, a province far removed physically and emotionally from you, and emotionally from me, though physically at the moment as well, since I find myself in Page AZ, though I was not really lost.

    As Father Tim commented to you early on, "You are giving WAY TOO MUCH power to the human institution of the Church."

    That said, you have trotted out some dialogue from the Theopedia site, which is not written by the Catholic Church, nor does it pretend (at least validly) to present what the Church actually teaches about Christianity with any veracity.

    That particular topic was the Pelagian heresy and Augustine's attempts to refute it. In the Catholic Church there is no "Augustinianism". As in 1 Co 12, there is no following of Paul or Apollos, nor is there following of Augustine, or Thomas Aquinas for that matter.

    Augustine when seeking to refute Pelagius, submitted his refutation to the Pope for validation. In other words, he submitted to the authority of the Church. Pelagius did not.

    Pelagius was an intelligent man who desired to know God better. However, he went astray. As such, his teachings were declared heretical eventually.

    So, to bring in to the discussion something that is erroneous makes it difficult to carry on the discussion.

    If you wish to know what the Catholic Church teaches about Salvation, a summary from New Advent, with links to other related topics is relevant.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13407a.htm

    Under individual salvation is noted that the Council of Trent stated things in a meaningful way, summarised in part as:
    "It begins with the grace of God which touches a sinner's heart, and calls him to repentance. This grace cannot be merited; it proceeds solely from the love and mercy of God. Man may receive or reject this inspiration of God, he may turn to God or remain in sin. Grace does not constrain man's free will.

    Thus assisted the sinner is disposed for salvation from sin; he believes in the revelation and promises of God, he fears God's justice, hopes in his mercy, trusts that God will be merciful to him for Christ's sake, begins to love God as the source of all justice, hates and detests his sins."

    The grace of God invites mankind to open a present under the Christmas tree with his name on it. You and I and Lady Janus as well, are free not to open that gift. God does not force salvation on us. We get to choose to receive it.

    Father Tim is most able to explain this, but seems more time constrained than we are, and so I hope this is helpful.

    God Bless You
    Michael

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  39. MBrandon,

    Michael, the discussion at the start was concerning the article above; that is, Quebec's public discusssion or hearings about euthanasia and assisted suicide. Then Lady Janus asked why anyone would fear death. There is of course a direct connection between fear of death, death itself, and assurance of salvation. So the discussion about assurance of salvation and the way of salvation is not that far from the subject of death.

    From previous discussions and by your comments, I understand you implicitly trust whatever the Catholic church says on a subject. I prefer to believe what the Bible says because I believe that is God's final revelation to mankind.

    I note the RC Council of Trent in the 1500s prounounced an anathema (ecclesiatical curse) on anyone who dared to say justification is by faith alone.

    Among the canons of the Council of Trent are the following:

    Sixth session, canons concerning justification:

    · “If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA” (Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 12).

    · “If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA” (Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 24).

    · “If anyone says that the Catholic doctrine of justification as set forth by the holy council in the present decree, derogates in some respect from the glory of God or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, and does not rather illustrate the truth of our faith and no less the glory of God and of Christ Jesus, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA” (Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 33). Unquote

    As you can see, the Council pronounced a curse on anyone who believes in justification by faith alone. According to them, one cannot be justifed by faith alone, but must preserve and increase his justification by good works. In effect, he must earn his justification by a life of good works. This is not what the Bible teaches. If it can be shown that the apostle Paul taught that jusification is by faith, would you accept that?

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  40. STG: All that you say in this last post is true. However, you are not considering the fact that this council took place in opposition to the Reformation. In fact, it considered itself to be a 'counter-reformation'.

    There have been two ecumenical councils since Trent that have gone a long way to correct its excesses.

    Please remember, it is important not to take specific teachings or edicts without considering the context in which they were offered.

    Fr. Tim

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  41. MBrandon,

    "In the Catholic Church there is no "Augustinianism". As in 1 Co 12, there is no following of Paul or Apollos, nor is there following of Augustine, or Thomas Aquinas for that matter."

    Michael, we are not talking about "following" a particular individual. It is the teaching of Scripture which is paramount and certain men have always been used by God to teach God's Word. But as Reformed christians, we do not accept what men say as being infallible. Whatever men teach must be supported by Scripture. You well know, the Roman Church claims what the Pope teaches is infallible and what the majesterium teaches is infallible. If you accept that doctrine, are you following the teachings of men rather than what the Bible says?

    The only men who wrote infallibly were the apostles and prophets who wrote the Bible. So when someone (an ordinary person, a theologian, or minister) can prove what he is saying is what the apostle Paul taught, are you prepared to accept that as the truth?

    When you lump the apostle Paul (or any apostle) in with Augustine or some other theologian, you demonstrate you do not understand that the apostles were especially chosen to write the Holy Scriptures, and that it is God's absolute and infallible truth.

    One cannot hope to know or understand what God has said in His Word unless he first accepts that it is inspired Scripture and therefore is infallible, and that it is addressed to the common man, not just to some pope, bishop, or clerical person to interpret for him.

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  42. Tim,

    "STG: All that you say in this last post is true. However, you are not considering the fact that this council took place in opposition to the Reformation. In fact, it considered itself to be a 'counter-reformation'.

    There have been two ecumenical councils since Trent that have gone a long way to correct its excesses.

    Please remember, it is important not to take specific teachings or edicts without considering the context in which they were offered.

    Fr. Tim "

    Tim, I understand what you are saying, but I am not convinced that the RCC has changed in any significant way since that period. I understand that the later councils to which you refer basically endorsed what the Council of Trent had said. The only way I can know for a fact is by examining the present teachings of the RCC in their cathechisms.

    You may be more open-minded and willing to consider what the Bible says on doctrines such as justification, salvation, and assurance of salvation. I believe to be open-minded is a far safer position to be in. I hope you are.

    One of the key reforms to come out of the Reformation period was of course the doctrine of justification by faith. Many have put their life on the line and many paid with their lives to stand for this truth and the right to be able to interpret the Bible as they understand it.

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  43. STG: Be careful with the infallible defense. There are elements of scripture (description of earth in Genesis) is clearly 'wrong' scientifically. It requires interpretation to discern the truth it actually communicates. Augustine understood this, even if he didn't have the scientific evidence to prove it. This is evident by his interpretations.

    Further, the RC Church teaches that the Pope is infallible in matters of 'faith and morals'. These sorts of pronouncements can be counted on your fingers beginning with Peter through to B16. The Magisterium does not teach with an infallible charism, although it is owed religious assent from Church members. This is far, far different than claiming infallibility.

    You do make a valid point though. Belief in sacred scripture as containing the truth of God for humanity is a central tenet for all Christians, Catholics included.

    Fr. Tim

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  44. PS: I hope you don't mind my intruding into your questions to Michael. I know that he is on the road, traveling with his wife to the south-west states (Nevada?)

    Fr. Tim

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  45. STG: I appreciate your caution and concern. The RC Church has not given you many reasons to believe what I am saying. Have you ever read the documents of Vatican II? You would find much there that you would agree with... probably a surprising amount of items!

    Fr. Tim

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  46. Tim,

    You are not intruding. The discussion is with whoever wishes to comment. I am particularly interested in reading your point of view on the things we have been discussing.

    I have never read the documents of Vatican II. There is not enough time available to read everything. I am a slow reader and slow at comprehension.

    But I do think it is fair to view the catechisms as teaching what the RCC officially teaches. Furthermore, I think we could probably bring in all kinds of writings from various sources to try to back up certain doctrines, but in the end, what would we accomplish? What I believe is what really matters is what the Holy Scriptures teach. If we can concentrate on that, it will be more useful I do believe.

    Catechisms or pronouncements of church councils are not on the same level as Holy Scripture. I assume from your comment that you agree that Holy Scripture is the source of truth, but I am not sure that many in the RCC would agree with you on that. I think they might say it is ONE source of truth.

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  47. Tim,

    "STG: Be careful with the infallible defense. There are elements of scripture (description of earth in Genesis) is clearly 'wrong' scientifically. It requires interpretation to discern the truth it actually communicates."

    I do believe the Bible is infallible. That of course doesn't mean I understand much of it. I don't claim to. Be careful with bringing in Genesis because there are many, myself included, who believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis and creation.

    Don't forget there are many supernatural events recorded in the Bible. Creation is a supernatural event. Just because there might be many scientists who do not take Genesis literally is no reason for a bible-believer not to take it literally. We may not understand these kinds of things in the Bible, but we accept them because God said that is the way it was. I have met and heard presentations by a creation scientist who gave excellent slide presentations demonstrating why the theory of evolution is false and why many other claims of science are questionable. Science has often had to change their conventional thinking as new discoveries were made.

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  48. STG: Genesis teaches the the world is flat, with a large dome over top of it. Further that the flat world is built upon giant pillars.

    You do not believe that! This was the only point I was making.

    Time for bed. I look forward to continuing our conversation tomorrow. Thank you very much! You are a gentleman and it is a pleasure to discuss these things with you.

    Fr. Tim

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  49. The discussion is interesting, and Father Tim, you were not imposing. If anyone was, it was me.

    The more I read, the more I am of the opinion that STG, Father Tim, and I are more in agreement than disagreement, and that much of the contention is based on misinterpretation of what the RCC teaches, and the foundation of those teachings.

    One thing I am clear in my understanding on is that nothing, NOTHING that the RCC teaches can controvert the Bible.

    The most serious difficulty that we all have with that most wondrous of books is that we don't understand it a whit really. That is why as a member of the RCC, I believe that I have somewhere to turn to where the official Church teachings are consistent, particularly those put forth in encyclical letters, or documents such as those of Vatican II.

    The problem with using words that I write, or you even, or worse still those with an axe to grind against the RCC to prove a point about what the RCC teaches, is that they are far too fallible in their content and context.

    We are not headed to Nevada, but to Tucson AZ, and we have seen some wonderful examples of God's majesty particularly in the last few days of our travels.

    As we travel to AZ in the post Christmas season, we hurry up to get through the snow belt and beat it for the warm south. We decided to make a trip in the fall to check on things there with our motorhome, and also decided to see things that we would not otherwise.

    Hence, this evening we are within sight of the Grand Canyon, having visited Antelope Canyon earlier in the day at Page AZ. Seeing how the light from the sun is refracted into beautiful colours in Upper Antelope Canyon was marvellous to say the least, and then to drive about 2 hours away and suddenly be faced with the Grand Canyon was awe inspiring. Who but a wonderful Creator could have imagined and then produced such wonders?

    I have not been in a church building for a few days, and though I miss morning prayer with my partners, I am awed to see what I have seen, and realise that Church is where two or more of us are gathered in His Name, and my Dear Wife and I have been so gathered.

    All eles is dogma, and I might have it right or wrong, and Wayne might, or Father Tim, but He who created the universe has it ALL RIGHT.

    God Bless You Both, and all who read this

    Michael Brandon

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  50. "Genesis teaches the the world is flat, with a large dome over top of it. Further that the flat world is built upon giant pillars."

    Seriously??? LOL! Gonna hafta go read that again...

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  51. "There is of course a direct connection between fear of death, death itself, and assurance of salvation."

    Not for me, there isn't. I don't understand what this "salvation" thing is all about, and what I've heard of it holds no interest for me.

    All I want is an answer to the question, "Why fear death?" What does the fear of something so completely natural -- not to mention inevitable -- do for anyone?

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  52. STG:

    Here is what you said about creation:"I do believe the Bible is infallible. That of course doesn't mean I understand much of it. I don't claim to. Be careful with bringing in Genesis because there are many, myself included, who believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis and creation."

    Bible infallible - Check. We agree on that one.

    You say you don't claim to understand much of it - Check. We agree that you don't understand much of it. We also agree that you are in good company, me included, but we all try to do our best, and will continue to grow in understanding it better, particularly if we remain open to dialogue with those who don't see things the way that we see them.

    You believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis and creation. That God created the universe we agree on. Did God do it in 7 days of 24 hours actually, or were the 7 days of the variety elsewhere in scripture where one of those days is like a thousand years? Of course, when Peter said that it did not necessarily mean literally 1,000 times 365 1/4. It could have been more, or it could be somewhat less. So, it could have been actually a billion years, and since God is not bound by time and space, it is not like He really had to hurry things - but He could have, and could have made everything look like it was a billion years just to keep the scientists on their toes in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    But, since we are wandering around the scriptural and human universe, I note that you choose to take the creation story literally. If you take that piece literally, why is the Eucharist narrative of the New Testament not to be taken literally?

    Genesis was not written by anyone who was present, but was written by someone retelling what had passed down to him over many, many centuries. It is a wierd thought to imagine something passing down over several generations with not one jot or tittle of alteration. I can't even remember what my wife told me as we drove down the highway today, let alone what she told me months and years ago. Maybe it's just me.

    The Eucharistic narrative was written by men who were present at the particular event, who witnessed it, and then lived it out day to day in what for them was liturgical observance. It is probable that the actual writing was done by their followers, converting verbal teaching into written form.

    Anyway, just thought I would ask.

    God Bless You

    Michael

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  53. Lady Janus:

    I share your astonishment at the retelling of Genesis. I must have missed the flat earth part and the pillars too. That alone makes it worth a reread.

    Like you, I also did not see the direct connection between fear of death, death, and assurance of salvation.

    If, there is nothing after death, then death is to be feared, I would think, in the sense that it is the end, not that it is bad. But, it does mean that the party is over, and who wants to see a good party come to an end.

    If you believe that there is something after death, then there is occasion for joy, though if you believe that what happens to you after death depends on something else, you might not be so quick to be joyful.

    Just thinking out loud (click, click, click)

    God Bless You

    Michael

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  54. One final thought for the evening.

    These dialogues are interesting, but are usually not really related to some topic that has been brought up by Father Tim.

    It would be interesting to me to see threads that related to specific topics, where the dialogue focused on the actual original topic.

    Just a thought.

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  55. "But, it does mean that the party is over, and who wants to see a good party come to an end."

    Okay...that's an analogy with which I can work for awhile. And a pretty good one, actually. After all, if you're thoroughly enjoying yourself at a party, why would you want to go home in the middle of it, right?

    But. What if you're not having any fun at this party? What if being at the party is making you miserable? What if you can't wait to get out of there and go home where it's peaceful and quiet and you don't have to endure everyone else's misdirected bonhomie? Introverts loathe such gatherings, and extroverts not only don't understand why, most of them make no effort to understand.

    Same with those on both sides of the right-to-die issue. Those of us who stand on the "yes" side of the issue do so for personal reasons that may not be understood by everyone else, and we don't feel it is necessary to be understood, just that our own wishes be honored, if not actively, then at least passively.

    On the flat world theory: I was talking to somebody last night who says, yes, that is exactly what is said. And that's where Terry Pratchett got the basis for his Discworld series. Awesome! LOL!

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  56. MBrandon,

    "Genesis was not written by anyone who was present, but was written by someone retelling what had passed down to him over many, many centuries. It is a wierd thought to imagine something passing down over several generations with not one jot or tittle of alteration."

    Michael, the Old Testament was copied down extremely carefully so that every jot and tittle was considered by the Jewish scribes. There were people whose profession was to meticulously copy the Old Testament Scriptures. Every character has to be checked and re-checked very meticulously. The accuracy of the Old Testament scriptures has never questioned.

    The literal understanding of Genesis' record of creation was taken literally even by scientists up until the last 150 years when everything changed. The theory of evolution infected the thinking of much of the world and people began to look for other ways of understanding Genesis such as what you have related.

    There is no reason for taking Genesis in any way other than literally. If the context or some solid reason could be found then it would be a different matter.

    On the subject of the Eucharist, Jewish prophets and apostles often used figurative language and we see many examples of that in the New Testament. An example would be when Jesus referred to himself as a door (John ch.10) Jesus also referred to himself as the bread of life (John ch6). Is he a loaf of bread of piece of bread? Of course not. This reference occured two passovers before the last supper, and Jesus did not commission the celebration of the communion supper until the last supper took place. If it was not commissioned until a year or two after, why claim that Jesus was referring to the communion service in John chapter 6?

    Obviously in John chapter 6 Jesus was speaking in a metaphorical or spiritual sense when he talked about eating his body and drinking his blood. These verse were referring to having faith in Jesus as one's personal saviour. By believing in Jesus in this way we are in a spiritual sense eating and drinking his body and blood. Jesus makes this clear in verses 62 and 63 of this chapter. It said plainly the words he spoke were spiritual and are life. Faith is what he was referring to, not physically eating his body and blood. That is cannibalism and is condemned in the Bible.

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  57. MBrandon,

    There is nothing in Genesis about the earth being flat or held up by pillars. Therefore it's not relevant to the account of creation in Genesis.

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  58. Lady Janus:

    Good work with the analogy. But, what about the party after the party?

    Theists, by and large, I think, agree that there is a hereafter, and that is what we are here after.

    But, what does a right to die advocate think happens after death, just an end to pain (or the end of a really bad party from an introverts perspective - I'm one of those)?

    I, for one, am actually interested in the reasons for supporting right to die stuff, so share away, if you will.

    As you can see from Wayne's comment, Flat earth held up by pillars - not actually in the Bible -ergo does not exist.

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  59. Wayne:

    I looked back to see if my comments and questions to you were about the earth being flat, as the people of the day believed or whether it was written in Genesis as such. They weren't.

    I asked you if you believed that God was bound by 24 hour days in creation, or whether God could be God and have days like thousand years, as in 1 Peter.

    I also asked why you might take Genesis literally, but not the Eucharistic narrative.

    Maybe you are just thinking about it, and have not had time to respond as of yet. Or maybe this thread has gotten a little confusing for us all.

    If Father Tim could (or someone could) find a way to make the individual threads that form this now mosaic into coherent lines of our thoughts, it might be easier for an old fellow like me to follow.

    This dialogue is interesting, and maybe we will all be a little wiser in the end.

    Michael

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  60. Interesting Wayne.

    You give credit to Jewish writers of the old testament, who meticulously wrote down what they had been told after it passed down many generations before they could ever write it down. I have no doubt that they were meticulous in their transcriptions. For me, like you it is a matter of faith.

    You also stated that until the last 150 years, very few people actually questioned the creation narrative. In a sense that is true. However, part of that belief was, in fact (until about the time of Christopher Columbus), that the earth was flat. Quelle Surprise to discover that it was in fact not so.

    But, the Jews and other early believers in Christ, who meticulously wrote down Christ's Eucharist narrative, and what is more important lived it as a matter of faith as though it were true from the earliest days, until the Protestant Reformation, just made stuff up, allegorically speaking.

    You missed my other point. Was the 7 days of the Creation story 7 24 hour days, or could it have been 7 days of 1,000 years, or 100,000 years for that matter? Is God bound by our understanding of some literal words?

    I don't have problem with the creation story as a true story, in fundamental fact. But, what was a DAY? So, for me science finding out that the earth is billions of years old does not call into question the creation narrative, any more than the discovery that, in fact the earth is round.

    Michael

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  61. "But, what about the party after the party?"

    WHAT party after the party? There's no evidence of such. But even so, if someone is trying to escape the misery of the party here-and-now, why would he have any interest in an after-party? Not all of us believe in an after-life of any kind, and in talking to some people I know, even those who hope for it aren't convinced it is there. They think of it more along the lines of having Santa stuff a Maserati into their Christmas stocking -- not entirely beyond the realm of possibility, but the odds are really far out there...

    As for what a right-to-die advocate thinks what might be there after death, I don't know. Most of the ones I talk to don't care, either. It's not important to them. Not a factor in their decision. What it does seem to be all about is that they get the last word. A lot of them spend their lives tied to rules they don't like for reasons they don't understand with people they don't much care for in jobs they hate and nothing makes any sense to them on a personal level. Nobody listens to them. Nobody asks their opinions about anything "important." When they vote, if their candidate wins, he usually ends up chewing their ballots into spitballs and firing them back at the voters. They're just cogs in a machine. Even those who have some kind of religious feeling feel that they're doing it because everyone else is doing it, not because it has any real meaning for them in a personal way.

    But death -- especially their own death -- is intensely personal. Like birth, each one is unique. They didn't get to choose their own birth, but they do have the ability to choose their own death. And, whether or not they actually use that choice, they want that choice to be available to them!

    It's kinda like asking for an analysis of why chocolate tastes so good. You can explain the chemical analysis and biological interactions in great detail, but none of that really matters -- it's how it feels on your tongue, along with the emotions that go with the feeling and the flavor, that are key to chocolate's desireablility. Unfortunately, our language is not well-sprinkled with words that define feelings and emotions to an adequate degree.

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  62. MBrandon,

    "But, what was a DAY? So, for me science finding out that the earth is billions of years old does not call into question the creation narrative, any more than the discovery that, in fact the earth is round."

    The comment about the flat earth held up by pillars should have been directed at Tim who I think first mentioned it.

    The question of whether one day mean 24 hours or thousands or even millions or hundreds of millions of years is not one that can be answered briefly. Professor Philip Stott, a creation scientist wrote a book called Vital Questions. IN chap.3 How Long Have We Been Here, he explains much.

    Due to space and lack of time, all I can do is mention a couple points. You idea is common among those who try to rationalize Genesis and make it agree with modern science.

    Dr. Stott talks about the "Principle Of Uniformitarianism". This was introduced to geology by James Hutton in about 1785. Later Charles Lyell, the "father of modern geology" who concidentally was born the day Hutton died, pick up on this idea. It became the foundation of geology. Interpreted it means, "No causes have, from the earliest time to which we can look back to the present, ever acted but those now acting, and they have never acted with a degrees of energy different to which they now exert".

    "Although called a principle, it is actually speculation. It claims to look back in time to the earliest available written records. Although unverified, it has gained acceptance and is now generally considered self evident truth on which the whole of geology has been built."

    "Immediate consequences are that the principle is that vast ages of time would be required to build up deposits of sedimentary rock."

    This theory led to the geological time scale.

    Before embracing it as the absolute truth, one should consider a number of other evidences.

    Professor Stott says "Helium is being produced by nuclear decay in the rocks of the earth, and it is also being produced in the atmosphere itself. Thousands of tons are being added to the atmosphere every year. If the earth is really as old as claimed, there ought to be a great deal of helium in the atmosphere, but there is not. There is only enough to account for a much younger earth age." --Prof Philip Stott

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  63. MBrandon,

    Michael,

    Another point Dr. Stotts raised to show the age of the earth may be only a few thousand years is the problem of the earth's magnetic field.

    "It is generally agreed that the main component, the symmetric dipole component (the component that makes a compass needle point to the North) is producedc by electric currents circulating in the earth's iron core. Any such current would require a power source to keep it running. It needs some kind of a dynamo mechanism. The only source that has ever been found for any such dynamo is the collapsing flux of the magnetic field itself. Analysis of the observed flux shows that it cannot have provided power for more than a few thousand years....Analysis of the situation actually known to exist suggests that the earth cannot have had a magnetic field for more than just a few thousand years." --Prof. Philip Stott

    Wayne

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  64. MBrandon,

    I will mention briefly a third evidence for a young earth age. The question of the meteoric dust. Scientists can measure the number of meteors that hit the earth's atmosphere and the meteoric dust which does not get burned up descends down to the earth's surface. It gets washed into rivers, and rivers flow into oceans. Meteoric dust is known to be rich in nickel. whereas rocks on earth are very poor in this metal.

    An assessment has been done on the amount of nickel which has been carried into oceans and measurments suggest that the process has been going on for only a short time.

    Other evidence is the pressure measured in oil wells. If the earth had been going on for millions of years, the oil should have dissapated into pores and crack in the rock. To be still in existence, oil fields cannot be very old.

    The radiometric dating method has come to be considered as unreliable for some time now.

    The Potassium Argon method has now been thrown into question.

    The world's leading expert on radio-halos, Rober V Gentry, said at a symposium, that the radio-halo analysis are far less than those generally accepted. He said the presently accepted ages for the earth may be too high by a factor of 10,000.

    Bishop Ussher's estimate for the age of the earth was about six thousand years. According to one the world's leading experts, astronomers do not have real observational evidence that the earth is actually any older than that." --Prof Stott "Vital Question".

    Wayne

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  65. Lady Janus:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I do appreciate it. Often I am hard headed in my own personal belief system, a clue that I don't have a clue what I am talking about, but am determined to be right.

    I am not sure I agree with where the analogies are going, but it is an interesting way to try and describe things. I love chocolate, personally, but could not describe for you why or what the feeling is all about, so I get that.

    I might even be okay with Death By Chocolate, but death as a comparison to chocolate (not what you were really saying) loses me.

    I think you said (and frankly I am having a challenge keeping up with all that is being said) that most people who are in favour of controlling their own death, don't look past the particular event, and I can understand that. Since my auto accident almost 7 years ago, I have had many days when I just wish I could have died, as the pain and loss of things I valued was pretty intense.

    But, at least for me, that is only a feeling, and I do not believe that feelings are really reliable primary decision making tools. They form part of the decision process, but are not reliable, since they are often guided by our own history, and that is often based on traumas from our life. This I know from many personal experiences where I followed my emotions disasterously, many times not even aware that I was so doing.

    It seems to me that exploring whether there is a hereafter might be wise if one is contemplating how one wants to deal with concluding moments on this earth.

    Just a thought.

    A Christian preacher allegedy lad an experience of heaven that I have heard spoken about often over many years. Here is a link to some commentary on his experience.

    http://www.percy-collett.com/

    I also read he book 23 Minutes in Hell that is referenced on the start of the web page.

    Michael

    This, of course does not prove or disprove the existence of Heaven or Hell, just give food for thought.

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  66. Lady Janus:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I do appreciate it. Often I am hard headed in my own personal belief system, a clue that I don't have a clue what I am talking about, but am determined to be right.

    I am not sure I agree with where the analogies are going, but it is an interesting way to try and describe things. I love chocolate, personally, but could not describe for you why or what the feeling is all about, so I get that.

    I might even be okay with Death By Chocolate, but death as a comparison to chocolate (not what you were really saying) loses me.

    I think you said (and frankly I am having a challenge keeping up with all that is being said) that most people who are in favour of controlling their own death, don't look past the particular event, and I can understand that. Since my auto accident almost 7 years ago, I have had many days when I just wish I could have died, as the pain and loss of things I valued was pretty intense.

    But, at least for me, that is only a feeling, and I do not believe that feelings are really reliable primary decision making tools. They form part of the decision process, but are not reliable, since they are often guided by our own history, and that is often based on traumas from our life. This I know from many personal experiences where I followed my emotions disasterously, many times not even aware that I was so doing.

    It seems to me that exploring whether there is a hereafter might be wise if one is contemplating how one wants to deal with concluding moments on this earth.

    Just a thought.

    A Christian preacher allegedy lad an experience of heaven that I have heard spoken about often over many years. Here is a link to some commentary on his experience.

    http://www.percy-collett.com/

    I also read he book 23 Minutes in Hell that is referenced on the start of the web page.

    Michael

    This, of course does not prove or disprove the existence of Heaven or Hell, just give food for thought.

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  67. Lady Janus:

    I wrote a profound response to your thoughtful comment a few minutes ago, but it is possible that it has gotten lost in the webosphere.

    I know that Father Tim is currently engaged in a personal mission dealing with possible end of life matters for Father Leon Belanger, as his Power of Attorney.

    My prayers and those of My Dear Wife that he requested of us a while ago, were that Father Belanger would be guided to the arms of Our Lord and Saviour if he is to die today or soon, and that Father Tim would be guided in making decisions for his care at this time.

    Michael

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  68. Wayne:

    Your comments are very interesting, and I appreciate them.

    Although the science for the position of a short time that earth has existed is not generally accepted, neither was the science that the earth was round a few hundred years ago.

    But, whether or not science agrees with our literal interpretation of the Bible does not in any way diminish the purpose and content of our most sacred account.

    Michael

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  69. MBrandon, Tim,

    Salvation if by faith alone. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlastiing life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John ch3 vs36.

    The claim that Tim made that baptism creates a kind of beginning point from which a person then has an opportunity to work toward his salvation is foreign to what the apostles taught and believed. The apostles new they had salvation in the here and now. It was not something they were working for.

    The sanctification spoken of by the apostle Paul is a positional sanctification. This occurs at the moment a person believes and is saved. Paul said "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" 1 Corinthians ch1 vs30

    Notice here that the believer is "in Christ Jesus", that Christ is the believer's sanctification. The word sanctification means "set apart".

    The person who has been sanctified is redeemed already by the precious blood of Christ. He is now a child of God. He is not working to become a child of God or working to earn his salvation or eternal life.

    The apostle Paul knew if he were to die, he would be with the Lord in heaven immediately.
    "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked." 2 Corinthians ch5 vs1-3

    "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians ch5 vs8.

    The apostles and disciples knew to be absent from the body meant to be present with the Lord in heaven. That is what this verse means.

    So they were not working for their salvation, but knew they already had it. They were working because they were saved and children of God. That is why the apostolic believers were referred to as saints in the New Testament. They were saints because they were sanctified in that their position was in Christ. They were born again new creatures in Christ.

    They were not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. (Galatians ch2 vs16)

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  70. "But, at least for me, that is only a feeling, and I do not believe that feelings are really reliable primary decision making tools. They form part of the decision process, but are not reliable, since they are often guided by our own history, and that is often based on traumas from our life. This I know from many personal experiences where I followed my emotions disasterously, many times not even aware that I was so doing."

    That's a very astute observation. It's also a very personal one, and when all the details are gathered into consideration (no, that's not an invitation to list them all, no worries), unique to you. Just as someone else's details will be unique to him. And to follow that, I think you would probably not be happy to be told you must follow someone else's details when making your own decisions, so why would you expect someone else to be happy to follow yours?

    Choice is very, very personal. It's not a group endeavor, and, as I told a young lady in the process of having herself declared sole custodial parent to her newborn (to the howling dismay of one of her other friends, who sees that action as a "betrayal" of the "rights" of the sperm donor who has been consistently clear that he does not wish to be saddled with fatherhood), each of us may or may not listen to the views of others, but when it comes down to the final decision, it is -- and should be -- all up to only one person: self.

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  71. Wayne:

    What you have written is thouhtful. With respect meant, I point you back to another comment you made recently: "I do believe the Bible is infallible. That of course doesn't mean I understand much of it. I don't claim to."

    It is axiomatic from your last comment about salvation that your previous comment is true. :}

    The entire Bible from "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." to "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen." is the story of our salvation.

    It is a story of a loving God who created a people on whom He could shower that love, and of the gift of free will that He gave them so they could love Him in return.

    It is also a story of what He commanded His people to do, and how they failed. It is a story of how His Son had to come to earth and stand in for all the sins of all who had gone before, all who were there, and all who would follow, to redeem our sinful and sorry behinds.

    It is a story too, of the early Church, trying to make sense of all that had gone before, and try to put into their lives the attributes that Christ showed us in walking with us here on earth.

    And yet, it is so much more than this silly summary can present.

    But, snippets of scripture cannot be taken and put together into a simple recipe for success/salvation. It might have some elements of a cook book, but it would be a cook book with one recipe in it, starting at the beginning and going to the end.

    It must be taken as a whole, and lived, and it must be taken in conjunction with the lives of the followers of Christ and all of God's people on the earth.

    But, if like so many on this earth, we wander from day to day, making God be nothing or whatever we claim Him to be, and fail to read God's word, and seek to understand what He is saying to us in it, then woe be to us.

    Your continued reading of God's word and presenting your understanding of it makes us all have to ask questions and look for answers as well.

    Thank you

    Michael

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  72. Lady Janus:

    I agree that choice is very personal. As a parent, I attempted to teach my children right from wrong, often erroneously, I regret.

    But, they have to make their own choices in the end, and my duty is to love them regardless of the bad choices they make, particularly when they mirror some I made myself at their ages. There are quite a few that I hope they do not mirror.

    But, it is for each of us as individuals to find our moral compass, and to follow it in our choices.

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  73. Passing thought (and note to self): I wonder who it was that coined the phrase, "moral compass?" Dollars to donuts it was someone who thought of himself as being "North." Hmm...shall have to explore this further... ;D

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  74. MBrandon and Tim,

    "What you have written is thouhtful. With respect meant, I point you back to another comment you made recently: "I do believe the Bible is infallible. That of course doesn't mean I understand much of it. I don't claim to."

    It is axiomatic from your last comment about salvation that your previous comment is true. :}

    The entire Bible from "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." to "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen." is the story of our salvation."

    I may have overstated my not understanding much of it. I simply wanted to make it clear I was not claiming to be an expert. To put it simply I believe God has given me the knowledge of the way of salvation through his Word by his grace. It is entirely by God's grace that I have that knowledge. It is a gift given by the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

    This is far different than the RC pretense to dispense salvation (or actually an opportunity for you to earn your salvation) through the sacrament of Baptism. The Bible certainly does not support that system. This is not what the apostles or disciples believe in the New Testament writings. I have already explained that.

    There is no salvation in following a false religion. The only true way of salvation or having eternal life is taught in the New Testament. The Gospel according to John is a good place to start and to study.

    Roman Catholicism is Arminian because it basically teaches a man is given the opportunity to earn his own salvation by baptism. How he lives his life determines whether he goes to heaven. This puts the onus entirely on the individual. To the human mind this seems to make sense. Why shouldn't an individual be able to earn his own salvation? The trouble is this is not God's plan for saving a fallen man.

    One needs to go back to the elementary teachings of the Bible. This is stated in the Canons of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619)
    Article 1: All Mankind Condemned Before God.
    "For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23

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  75. MBrandon, Tim,

    Secondly,
    Article 2: The Sending of the Son of God
    But in this the love of God was manifested, that He "sent His only begotten Son into the world, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (1 John 4:9; John 3:16)

    Article 3 The Preaching of the Gospel
    And that men may be brought to believe, God mercifully sends the messengers of these most joyful tidings to whom He will and at what time He please; by whose ministry men are called to repentance and faith in Christ crucified. "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they are sent?" (Romans 10:14-15)

    Article 4 A Twofold Outcome
    The wrath of God abides upon those who believe not this gospel. But such as receive it and embrace Jesus the Saviour by a true and living faith are by Him delivered from the wrath of God and from destruction, and have the gift of eternal life conferred upon them. (John 3:36; Rom 1:18, 2:5; John 1:12-13; Romans 10:9

    All men (all humans) are fallen and God sent His Son into the world. He also sent messengers and His Word to deliver the message of salvation by faith to those who would believe.

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  76. MBrandon, Tim,

    Article 4 says

    The wrath of God abides upon those who believe not this gospel. But such as receive it and embrace Jesus the Savior by a true and living faith are by Him delivered from the wrath of God and from destruction, and have the gift of eternal life conferred upon them.

    Article 5 The Causes of Unbelief and Faith
    The cause or guilt of this unbelief as well as of all other sins is no way in God, but in man himself; whereas faith in Jesus Christ and salvation through Him is the free gift of God, as it is written: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8), Likewise: "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him..." Philipians 1:29 James 1:13, 17; 1 John 1:5 Heb. 4:6

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  77. If one thinks he can save himself by good works, he is building on sand. It is a false hope. He is not trusting in Christ as Saviour. How can you reconcile the RC teaching of earning your own salvation by "following the precepts" of the Bible, and yet claim you believe in Christ as Saviour. This is an oxymoron. Either you believe in saving yourself through your own good works or you believe you cannot earn your own salvation.

    You cast aside any such false hopes, and trust in Christ as your only santifier and saviour of your soul. Which is it? Where are you going to put your faith? In your self efforts or in Christ? If you continue to follow a religious system which teaches it is up to you to earn your salvation by your life, you are choosing a false hope. If you trust in Christ Jesus alone as your saviour, you can have salvation today, now. Which will it be? "...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians ch6:2b

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  78. Wayne:

    The only person claiming that the RCC believes in saving oneself by good works is you.

    I don't believe it. Father Tim doesn't believe it, and the Church does not teach it.

    However, "Faith without works is dead." You cannot have faith and not have good works.

    Michael

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  79. Michael,

    The Roman Church's Council of Trent pronounced an anathema against anyone who said justification if by faith alone. When you quote James "faith without works is dead", that is true. But I don't think you really understand what the dispute is. Nobody is questioning the need for a christian to have works, BUT this is not to earn salvation. The apostles and disciples never taught that salvation was by faith PLUS works. That is something that was invented by the Roman Church.

    But another thing the Roman Church has added to faith and made it a requirement for salvation are the RC sacraments. The online catechism says:

    "1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.51 "Sacramental grace" is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. the Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. the fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature52 by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior."

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P33.HTM

    This completely contradicts what Jesus and the apostle Paul taught. Therefore it is another gospel.

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

    "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1

    By adding the sacraments as necessary for salvation, Rome has created a new gospel.
    The apostle Paul said "if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed". Galatians 1:9
    This sounds very serious.

    As I said the Council of Trent pronounced an anathema against anyone who said justification is by faith alone; but that is exactly what the apostle Paul said:

    "Knowing that a man is not justifed by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Galatians ch2 vs16.

    First a sinner must become a child of God by faith alone; then once a child of God, he has eternal life. Then he can do good works for his heavenly Father. Before one can work for God, he must first be accepted by God by being justifed (made just before God by the imputed righteousness of Christ).

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  80. Wayne:

    You have some text right, but context wrong, though I appreciate your comment.

    The Catholic Church did not invent dogmas on faith. The dogmas that exist are the continuation of the Church that Christ created in the beginning. It is an irrelevant point that that Church came to be known as the Roman Catholic Church. It is the same Church from the beginning until today, and tomorrow as well.

    It cannot be REFORMED. It can be and should be admonished for the sins of leaders who were on the wrong path, but you cannot REFORM the Church that Christ created, by His own words.

    The sacraments were created by Christ, not by man, and are part of the whole deposit of faith that He gave to the Church. The apostles taught and lived the sacraments. Though the form might vary somewhat from the beginning, the substance has never changed, and never can or will. We mere mortals cannot change one jot or tittle of what Jesus did for us, or instructed us to do. It is not our Church, but His Church.

    As to the comments re anathemas, here is a link to an article by a faithful Catholic Christian on that, and on Trent.

    http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/anathemas.htm

    David MacDonald, the writer of this and many other topics at the Catholic Bridge web site is a man who has followed a very circular path that has led him to a ministry to Catholics and those who do not understand the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    His comments about the challenges from the Council of Trent are pertinent, and are necessary for context.

    As to the sacraments, Christ instituted them as a perpetuation and means to transmit grace to His followers, which the Church has always believed. They become necessary components of salvation. Here is an article from Catholic Online that is on topic.

    http://www.catholic.org/clife/prayers/sacrament.php

    Your thoughtful comments challenge me to understand my own faith better. Frankly, you are making me look into things that I have just believed, and made me understand them better.

    Father Tim. If I have anything wrong here, pleae correct me.

    Thank You

    Michael

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  81. Michael:

    Nothing to correct! Well done!

    STG: You said a little while back that you did not want to have to deal with Catechisms etc (when I suggested reading the Vatican II documents). Why are you then continuing to pull out quotes from Trent when as I've explained (and Michael too!) that it is in many ways an out-dated summation of the Churches understanding as it was a 'counter-reformation' council?

    Just curious.

    Fr. Tim

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  82. Tim,

    "Why are you then continuing to pull out quotes from Trent when as I've explained (and Michael too!) that it is in many ways an out-dated summation of the Churches understanding as it was a 'counter-reformation' council?"

    Tim,

    Is it true that Vatican I or II re-affirmed what the Council of Trent stated?

    "We can put what the Council of Trent said to one side for now and just talk about what the Catechism says and what the Bible says. I am comfortable with that as I think you would be."

    Also, the paragraph I quoted in my Oct. 4 posting above, which says the sacraments are necessary for salvation, is from the online RC catechism. I assume that is an up-to-date authoritative catechism of the RCC. I quoted the website I obtained it from.

    The online Catechism says the sacraments are necessary for salvation. Michael has stated that is also what he believes. Michael, you are leaning heavily on the claim that what the RC church teaches is what the church has always taught without any Biblical evidence to back it up. I think you need to prove that what the Catechism teaches is what the apostles taught, don't you think? If you cannot prove that, you have no case. Why should anyone accept your claim if you cannot give any Biblical proof?

    I have given you Biblical proof demonstrating that salvation has nothing to do with the RC sacraments, but you do not seem to pay attention to that. Jesus made it clear that salvation is by faith in Him. So you accept the RC claim that the sacraments are necessary simply because the RCC catechism says so even if the Bible says differently?

    Why does this matter? Simple. If your faith or hope for salvation is in the RC sacraments and the Bible contradicts that, then you gentlemen are placing your trust in a false system.

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  83. Tim,

    I never said I did not have to deal with Catechisms. I said I didn't have the time to read Vatican II documents. I don't know what they are, but I think Vatican II went on for several years and probably has an encylopedia of documents. I think you will agree everything we need to know about RC teachings should be in the online Catechism.

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  84. Tim, Michael,

    "1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.51 "Sacramental grace" is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. the Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. the fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature52 by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior."

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P33.HTM"

    I have quoted this again because it is worth examining again. I said it is completely wrong, but I should have said it is a mixture of some truth and a large error.

    The first sentence says the sacraments are necessary for salvation. This is something not taught in the New Testament. If you read the Gospel of John, you will find Jesus said in many places salvation is by faith in Him.

    The second sentence concerning "sacramental grace" is a pure invention of the RC church. The apostles who wrote the New Testament new nothing of sacramental grace. That is the RC invented grace which the RC claims is received when the priests dispense the sacraments. God never gave men the power to dispense grace through a select group of men.

    1 Timothy 2:5 should make that clear. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." People can go directly to God through Jesus Christ, who is God and the Son of God. The Epistle to the Hebrews makes it clear that the earthly priesthood (of Jewish priests) ended when Christ came and he is our only priest, with the priviso that all christians are priests in another sense. Christians do not offer sacrifices for sin, but are priests in the sense they are ambassadors for Christ and do ministry work.

    Christians receive grace directly from God, not through an earthly priesthood which no longer is necessary. The apostle Paul makes this clear in Hebrews: "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews ch4 vs15,16

    If we trust in an earthly priesthood offering for sin and dispensing grace, we are denying the one true priesthood of Jesus Christ and ignoring what the apostle said about coming boldly to the throne of grace. This is a different gospel. Paul prounounced an anathema on any other gospel.

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  85. STG: Thank you for the questions. I will do my best to answer them.

    1. Yes, Vatican II affirmed the previous councils - BUT, it used as its hermeneutic key the two pillars of 'aggiornamento' and 'resourcement'; 'opening to the world', and 'return to sources'. These two keys meant that the Church called upon the power of the Holy Spirit to guide a gathering of all the worlds apostles (the Bishops) to understand the truths of scripture and to ensure that the face of Christ that it presents to the world is an accurate reflection of our Lord and Savior.

    This is understood that this blessed breath of God, the authentic 'Spirit of Vatican II' was received for, in its first session, the bishops threw out all of the preparatory documents of the Curia and started fresh to ensure that the teachings and understanding of our dogma were both faithful to those earliest sources of common orthodoxy (scripture, earliest letters and documents from 1st & 2nd century Christian communities) and relevant to the times.

    Thus instead of responding to the Post-Reformation agenda of 'battening down the hatches' in the wake of schism, now by returning to those foundational sources they came to see, understand and explain the sacraments, the Church, the word of God, ecumenism, religious freedom, etc. In an environment of freedom, multi-cultural, well educated and searching people, and with the tools of modern media that had shrunk the world into a 'global village' it recognized the opportunity to test and validate our dogma by measuring it against the yardstick of scripture.

    So, sorry for the long answer, but I hope is answers your first point.

    Fr. Tim

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  86. 2. Sure, we can stick to scripture and catechisms if you wish, although I'd appreciate the chance to offer the teachings of Vatican II as well. Each and every dogma is explained with an appreciation to the advent of globalization (good and bad) and is referenced back every time to specific scriptures from both the Hebrew and Christian canons.

    3. I thank you sincerely for your concern for my ultimate encounter with Christ at the time of general judgment. I appreciate that you are not concerned with simply winning souls for Christ (a good in itself but it can lead to a pride in 'numbers' which claims some element of righteousness against what is the sole purview of Christ), but are genuinely concerned for our souls.

    Please be assured that we are confident in our standing before God as Catholic Christians as are you in your conviction and particular communion. The gift of God that is the blessed assurance courses through us as well as through you. We can say to each other as brothers in faith that we disagree on the best way to get to where we both hope to be; with Christ when he returns triumphant, following the tribulation and testing of the faithful in heart. On that day I believe, and the Church teaches, that we both have the best reason to hope among the saints in glory in the New Jerusalem: the blood of the cross, the salvation won for those who accept him as Lord and Savior.

    That is what the Church prays each Easter Vigil. That is what Vatican II taught. This is what I believe.

    Fr. Tim

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  87. Note re: Catechism. Please note at every verse of the CCC is referenced back to specific scripture. You might want to check them out when you want to understand where they came from. It may be more productive if we can talk our way to a common understanding of what the scripture means. That way you'll be able to see where the dogma grows from and be able to judge whether you think our understanding is correct when measured against what you believe.

    Deal?

    Fr. Tim

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  88. STG: First, check out this link. It is the line of scripture that supports that teaching.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_P127.HTM#CATHL.2PET.1.4

    Then, if you want, click on each linked word and it will bring you to a concordance that lets you put it in context.

    The please let me know what you think. Thanks.

    Fr. Tim

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  89. Tim,

    "STG: First, check out this link. It is the line of scripture that supports that teaching.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_P127.HTM#CATHL.2PET.1.4"

    As far as I can see the link you gave here is to the New American Bible, 2 Peter, chapter 1. But I am not sure what your point is.

    We seem to be digressing into some pretty broad areas which will not help.

    Let me ask you:

    1. Do you believe you have eternal life now?

    2. If so, what is the basis for this belief?

    3. Upon what is your hope resting?

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  90. STG:

    1. YES! Most definitely
    2. On the blood of the cross shed for my sins. On acceptance of Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. On the witness and teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

    3. Upon the promise of sacred scripture. Upon the revealed Word of God and his promise to return in glory. Upon the witness of martyrs who gave up their life rather than renouncing their belief that what they knew of God and His Church to be true.

    How would you answer the same questions?

    Fr. Tim

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  91. STG: The link was the scripture passage that supports the teaching of the CCC you referenced. By clicking on the footnote number, it takes you to the documentation that supports the teaching. In the case you offered, it takes you to various teachings from earlier councils and to particular passages of scripture which we believe justifies our beliefs.

    Let me clarify one point for you.

    Yes, Trent taught the Church was necessary for salvation. Yes Trent taught that salvation was not available outside the sacramental system of the Church. But understand that these beliefs, these teachings and dogma are for those who belong to the Roman Catholic Church. We believe that the Church will play an essential role in the tribulations and glory that awaits this world. Through its agency, all believers will be saved. We stretch that out even farther to include the Jews, our elder brothers in faith, and to all people who strive to live a 'good' life, even if they have not been introduced to Christ in any personal or meaningful way.

    Vatican II made clear that this agency... this prophesied role that the Church is to play is universal in its scope, just as are the limits of Divine love and forgiveness. Think of it perhaps as a key in a door, or the elect called to suffer, die and be washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb. It is not our role to comprehend what or how this mystery will be lived out. It is our responsibility to live lives of prayer and faithfulness, ready to share in whatever God brings to us on any given day.

    It is for us, a deeply fulfilling life as I am sure your faith and faith community is for you as well. We should consider each other lucky!

    Fr. Tim

    That is what the Catholic Church teaches. That is what Vatican II taught. That is why prominent, wise and holy men like Cardinal Avery Dulles or Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus saw in the Council the bridging of the gap between their previous Protestant faiths and the Catholic Church, healing and answering the challenges of the Reformation and thus impelling them to rejoin the Catholic community.

    I believe it too.

    Fr. Tim

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  92. Tim,

    I asked
    "1. Do you believe you have eternal life now?

    2. If so, what is the basis for this belief?

    3. Upon what is your hope resting?

    You replied
    "1. YES! Most definitely
    2. On the blood of the cross shed for my sins. On acceptance of Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. On the witness and teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

    3. Upon the promise of sacred scripture. Upon the revealed Word of God and his promise to return in glory. Upon the witness of martyrs who gave up their life rather than renouncing their belief that what they knew of God and His Church to be true."

    Re Ques.1 and 2. Tim, I heard the gospel preached over the radio about 30 years ago one evening in our apartment. Part of the message was:
    "Morever, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

    By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

    For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

    And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" 1 Corinithians ch15 vs1 to 4

    Secondly, that if believed this in my heart that Christ died for me personally and paid for my sins, and if I called upon Jesus to save me, He would do so and I would have eternal life.
    I believe he mentioned the verse: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans ch10 vs13.

    I believe that night that the Lord saved me. This was not of my own doing, but entirely by God's grace.

    My faith and hope rests on God's Word which says He would save those who call upon Jesus as Lord and Saviour and believe that He died for them personally. I did and I do believe He died for me.

    _______________

    Tim, I have no problem with your answers except perhaps the part where you said "On the witness and teaching of the Roman Catholic church".

    I would have a big problem with that because the RCC does not teach salvation by the faith alone. By your profession you appear to believe in salvation by faith.

    I gave you a quote from the Catechism which says the sacraments are necessary for salvation. If you really believe what you said, you are in the wrong place.

    So are you being forthright and complete in your answer since you did not mention all that the RCC teaches and expects in order to receive salavation? Also, where in the Catechism does it say you can know you have salvation now? The Bible teaches that, but I am not aware the Catechism or RCC does.

    If you really believe what you said in your answers, why are you staying in the RC church? Why continue to be a priest? Aren't you in the wrong profession? Why is it necessary for a sacrificing priesthood if Christ has already paid for your sins 2000 years ago? Do you see the contradiction? Isn't the Mass a continuing sacrifice of Christ on the cross or a re-enactment of His sacrifice? Therefore isn't it a denial of the sufficiency of Christ's once for all sacrifice?

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  93. Tim,

    "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

    Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." Psalm 32 vs 1,2

    "I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess by transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah." Psalm 32 vs5

    David went directly to the Lord and confessed his transgressions and was forgiven. He did not need any earthly mediator. In the same way, we can go directly to Christ, confess our sin, iniquity, transgressions, failures, and need for forgiveness and cleansing. He is our salvation and deliverance.

    "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

    "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34 vs1

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  94. STG: I really am having trouble understanding your objection to the RC Church.

    First, Christian are saved by Christ... pure and simple. Protestants believe this... Catholics believe this. Therefore the first answer I gave to each question did not depend upon the agency of the RC Church.

    No faith = no salvation. This too is clear for Christians of all stripes and colors.

    So far, so good, right?

    OK. Now the Christian communion is fractured into various denominations. Each has its own understanding, rules, traditions and practices on how to live as we await the Savior's return. You quibble about the 'how' and neglect the 'what' and 'why' of faith. Why is that?

    If you want to get into the faith/works argument, remember that from FAITH comes WORKS. In other words, works are simply the evidence of faith. It's putting faith into action.

    The sacraments are for Catholics. The rules and understanding of how the sacraments work applies to Catholics. They are part of the 'how' we live out our faith. It's not your 'cup of tea', I appreciate that, but I do not tell you how to worship in your church. Why are you so bothered by how we practice our faith?

    For me: bottom line is this. I am a Christian. I am a Catholic. Being Catholic without being a Christian would do me absolutely no good whatsoever. My faith in Christ is the foundation of my life. Everything else, how I worship, live and work is simply built on the foundation of Christ.

    Fr. Tim

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  95. Tim,

    "The sacraments are for Catholics. The rules and understanding of how the sacraments work applies to Catholics. They are part of the 'how' we live out our faith. It's not your 'cup of tea', I appreciate that, but I do not tell you how to worship in your church. Why are you so bothered by how we practice our faith?"

    You are free to worship as your wish, but the RC church is not a private closed club. It claims to be the true church. It operates the school system in many places. It has operated hospitals and other charitable organizations. Many political leaders are members and followers of the RCC. It makes public pronouncments on various matters. It claims to be a light in a dark world. It is an integral part of society and life. So don't you think it is fair for someone outside the RCC to follow the teachings of Christ and the apostles and examine it to see if it is indeed a true church. And to see if it's teachings are in accordance with what Christ and the apostles taught? Or would you prefer to be left to operate without anyone examining it in the light of Scripture?

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  96. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  97. STG: I stand corrected. I did not express my question the way I wanted. Please let me try again.

    We agree that we are saved by faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, right?

    If we ARE saved by this act of faith, why does the way we practice (this word is very specific... it means to train, to prepare) our faith matter? We we are saved not by what we do, but by our commitment to Christ, I sincerely have trouble understanding your reluctance to permit space on the boat of salvation for Catholics.

    There are MANY Catholics who worship their religion rather than God. I acknowledge this to be true. But there are many people in all Churches who are guilty of the same. Why this special concern for Catholics?

    As to the fact that we serve the world with hospitals, schools etc. is simply our putting our faith into action (a la the Letter of James).

    Fr. Tim

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  98. Tim,

    "We agree that we are saved by faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, right?

    If we ARE saved by this act of faith, why does the way we practice (this word is very specific... it means to train, to prepare) our faith matter? We we are saved not by what we do, but by our commitment to Christ, I sincerely have trouble understanding your reluctance to permit space on the boat of salvation for Catholics."

    Tim, Yes to your question above. It might sound like splitting hairs, but Ephesians ch2:8 says "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Therefore is it our faith that saves us or God's grace that saves us?
    It seems from this verse that it is God's grace or unmerited favour that actually saves us. This is "through" the gift of faith. Even faith is a gift of God. So we have nothing in and of ourselves to boast about. Faith is not considered a work. Verse 9 even says "not of works, lest any man should boast". If faith was a work then verse 9 would not make sense.

    You say why does the way we practice our faith matter? Excellent question. The answer has to be from the Bible. When Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well he told her "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." John ch4 vs23

    From this verse we see God makes it clear that he requires his disciples to worship him in a certain way. We cannot invent our own way, but it must be as God has taught us.

    "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    And then will I profess unto the, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them I will like him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" Matthew ch7 vs 22-24

    "What think ye of Christ?" Matthew ch22 vs 42a

    Do you believe Christ is the Messiah who has made a complete atonement for your sin? This is a central question that Matthew 22:42 is asking. How we answer this question is crucial.

    "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Hebrews ch9 vs12

    "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Hebrews ch9 vs28

    So what think ye of Christ? We are warned in the Bible about vacillating between two opinions. This is especially true in what we think about Christ.

    It is not me that permits or does not permit salvation to anyone. Salvation is of the Lord. In the final analysis, I cannot judge anyone; nor do I wish to.

    Why do I have an interest in RCs? Well, I don't know completely. It might have to do with my connection with the RCC in my younger life. I have met RCs over the years who have a sincere interest in religion. I have discussed it in depth in years gone by at times. I do have an interest in talking with people who are themselves interested.

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  99. STG: You ask:

    "Do you believe Christ is the Messiah who has made a complete atonement for your sin? This is a central question that Matthew 22:42 is asking. How we answer this question is crucial."

    Unequivocally... YES. This is exactly what the RC Church teaches. NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING we could do on earth could accomplish this. The sacrament of reconciliation is (for Catholics) the means by which we REUNITE ourselves with this divine gift of atonement whenever we move away from this grace through sin.

    No sacrament could save us, no sacrament or ritual could win us salvation were it not for the divine gift of Christ's death and resurrection.

    This IS what the Church teaches!

    I appreciate your interest in the RC Church. It speaks powerfully to your love of neighbor and God that you strive to do all you can to convince people of their need for salvation.

    I simply ask you if there is enough room in your understanding of Christ's gift of atonement to permit you to believe that we too are among God's chosen?

    BTW... thank you for this wonderful exchange. I cannot think of a better discussion that I've ever been privileged to participate in since I began this blog. You are a great gift for me... a divine gift!

    Fr. Tim

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  100. Tim,

    I appreciate your kind remarks. They are far more gracious and kind than I deserve.

    But getting back to this statement you made.

    "The sacrament of reconciliation is (for Catholics) the means by which we REUNITE ourselves with this divine gift of atonement whenever we move away from this grace through sin."

    This shows one thing I have been trying to say. The RCC with it's sacrament of reconciliation interposes itself between man and God. This contradicts the teaching scripture that says man is to go directly to God through Christ. I have quoted a central verse on this. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:5

    This is the same message in many verses.
    "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

    "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." John ch6 vs35.

    to be con'd

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  101. Tim,

    con'd
    It might worth a look at the Reformed understanding of confession.

    I will quote a well-known minister and writer.
    "The Reformed faith recognizes, as Roman Catholicism cannot, the true magnitued of this duty. Its view is correspondingly deeper and more searching. (1) This is true, in the first place, ecause of the recognitions that all sin must be confessed to God rather than merely to man. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). It is much more awesome to face God than to face man. It is also efficacious, whereas no mere man has the power to forgive sins. "For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found," says David (Ps.32.6).

    (2) The Reformed view is true, secondly, because of the recognition that the sinfulness of the heart is more to be confessed than even the sins which proceed from it (Pss. 51; 38:3-10). It is easier to recite a list of sins than it is to mourn the defilement of the heart.
    (3) Thirdly, confession is a duty which requires much greater constancy than is true on the Roman Catholic view. "Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice" (Ps. 55:17).

    But how can a defiled sinner stand efore that holy God who is a consuming fire? Does he not need a priest who can stand between? He does indeed need one who can (1) remove God's wrath, and (2) absolve his own guilt and remove defilement. But no priest of Rome can do so for the reason that he also is defiled. And it is the glory of the gospel of Christ and the Reformed Confession that they inform us of the only Savior and priest who is ale to do what the situation requires. He was "made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people" (Heb. 2:17). By the sacrifice of himself he removed God's wrath and defilement. He then asceneded up on high in order to make intercession for us. For this reason we are commanded in the Word of God to acknowledge none other to be our priest." ---from "G.I. Williamson's Study Guide on the Westminister Confession of Faith.

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  102. Tim,

    The question is do we need a priest in confession of sin? Where is this priest?

    Are we required to confess our sins directly to God?

    Do earthly priests have the power to forgive sins (in the name of or on behalf of God)?

    The answer from the Bible is as I have shown is yes we do need a priest, but that this is not an earthly priest. Our only priest and mediator is Jesus Christ.

    The second question is are we required to confess our sins directly to God. The answer from the Bible is yes. We do this by going to Christ and believing in Him as our only mediator and saviour and confessing to Him.

    Thirdly, earthly priests do not have the power to take the place of Christ on earth and grant forgiveness on behalf of God. Christ is the only mediator and when we go to any other (earthly priests, Mary, or saints), we are not worshipping Him in spirit and in truth as Jesus said we must.

    David went directly to God when he said "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." (Ps. 51 vs4).

    I would like say something about your comment when you said "we reunite ourselves with this divine gift of atonement". Salvation is a gift of God. While a christian can lose his present standing with God and grieve the Holy Spirit, he can never lose his salvation because salvation is a work of God, not man. Therefore it is not a matter of reuniting ourselves with the atonement. The atonement is not something God applies and removes with his redeemed children. The believer needs to be walking in the Spirit and living a life pleasing to His heavenly Father, but he will never be lost.

    "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:28

    Wayne

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  103. STG: I've only got a moment, and I will respond in more detail later, but I want to give you one point to ponder.

    The priest is NOT the person who forgives sin. We ABSOLVE sin. It is our role to help people confess their sins to God and to ask HIS forgiveness. We assist them in finding the roots of their sinfulness and offer them a penance to help them to root out that tendency to sin.

    IF a priest were unavailable to a Catholic, and they turned to Christ and acknowledged their sin, clearly God would forgive them.

    Fr. Tim

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  104. Your answer raises a couple of questions for me, Tim:

    First, it might help if you explain the different between forgiving and absolving. It occurs to me that most people do not know there is a difference between them, much less what it is.

    Second, when it comes to confession, is it required that every Catholic avail himself of the assistance of a priest if there is one available? Or can a Catholic simply speak directly to God as Jews do? I imagine that most adult Catholics are well versed in the details of confession, and if they're repeating a former confession, they might very well know what penance is expected of them. In other words, is it okay to skip the "middle man?" Or (to put it rather cheekily), does management have a union?

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  105. Tim,

    You are not answering the points I made with
    Bible verses. You say you absolve sin. There is nothing in the Bible giving you authority to claim to absolve sin. As I showed there is no sanction for an earthly priesthood and no man has power to "absolve" sin. The role of a minister is to bring people to Christ through sound preaching and counciling so that they may confess to God directly and ask forgiveness. They don't need an earthly priest to help them do it. You seemed to miss completely what I said and the verses I gave you about Christ being the only priest and mediator.

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  106. STG: To absolve:

    a.to pronounce remission of sins.
    b.to remit (a sin) by absolution.
    c.to declare (censure, as excommunication) removed.

    Please note the absence of the word 'forgive'. The role of the priest is to assist the penitent in making a good confession to God, and then assure him of God forgiveness through the remittance sin; to declare that any heavenly censure is lifted and the person stands right before Christ.

    Christ is the acting agent in the sacraments, with us being the recipients of his grace - which the Church as his earthly presence can minister. (NOTE: This does not limit how God acts and He is can dispense his grace however He chooses.) Priests, by the grace of their Holy Orders participate in this process with our brothers and sisters & with Christ, the eternal High Priest. We are called to be men of prayer, dedicated to the care of those brothers and sisters under our care; spiritual fathers who stand with them who help them to live faithfully and purposefully awaiting the expected return of Christ in glory.

    Fr. Tim

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  107. Dear Wayne:

    Part of the challenge is not so much that you are committed to "sola scriptura" a tradition of the Reformation that did not exist prior to that time, but that you do not seem to be open to God acting in ways that seem foreign to you, in light of your own interpretations of scripture.

    I say that in now way to belittle your questions, because the dialogue with you is inspiring to both Father Tim and to me, inviting us to dig deeper into our own beliefs.

    In questioning the sacrament of reconciliation/confession/penance, you are questioning the early Church leaders, who wrote about it with some frequency. But, you are also questioning the interpretation of scripture held by the Church from its earliest days, and though denied by some of those claiming to be Re-formers, remains intact to this day.

    Here are a few examples from one Catholic author:

    http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art46567.asp
    http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art50146.asp
    with a follow up article here
    http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art50152.asp

    What is even more important is the experience of penitents attending the sacrament. Since our faith is meant to be experienced, it is important to draw from that experience.

    I confess that my early experiences of confession when I was a child were more out of duty, and a child's simple mind. At about age 8, I confessed to adultery because I was being bossy to my younger sister, and I thought that being bossy was an adult thing, hence I thought it was adultery, in my childlike mind. I gave our parish priest quite a chuckle over that.

    But, as an adult, when I have come to know Jesus personally, the sacrament of reconciliation has become very meaningful to me. I know that I am a sinner, and that I have sinful tendencies towards particular things. I have spoken with my parish priest, an old friend of Father Tim's about it, and acknowledge that as I get further away from my last confession, my ability (grace abounding in me) to resist certain temptations gets weaker.

    So, I love to receive the sacrament. I am well aware that it is a grace filled time for me to go to confession.

    I do not require you to believe it, even though it is scriptural, and comes as well from the tradition of the earliest Church.

    I know what it is for me in my heart, and how it helps me to serve my wife and family better, and to be more loving to others that cross my path.

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  108. Tim,

    "Please note the absence of the word 'forgive'. The role of the priest is to assist the penitent in making a good confession to God, and then assure him of God forgiveness through the remittance sin; to declare that any heavenly censure is lifted and the person stands right before Christ."

    Are you claiming that priests do not have the power to forgive sins but only to absolve them? Why claim priests have the power to "absolve" sins but not grant or declare forgiveness? It sounds more like clever semantics.

    In actual fact the Roman Church has claimed in it's study guide which I have a copy of, the following:
    "G. THE PRIEST HIMSELF FORGIVES THE SINS"
    page 103 "Instructions in the Catholic Faith" by Parish Priests -- 1976

    Newer Catechisms might use different wording and avoid using the word "forgive" as you do, but it boils down to the RC church making the same claim. That is, that the priests have the power to forgive sins, whether you prefer to say "absolve" is irrelevant.

    We know the RCC misapplies a couple of verses in the New Testament to claim this power, but the teaching through the N.T. was that confession was to be made directly to God.

    Michael & Tim,

    "In questioning the sacrament of reconciliation/confession/penance, you are questioning the early Church leaders, who wrote about it with some frequency."

    I don't think so. Loraine Boettner mentions in his book that not a word is found in the writings of early church fathers about confessing sins to a priest or anyone except God alone. Confessing to priests or men is not mentioned in the writings of Augustine, Origen, Nestorius, Tertullian, Jerome, Chrysostom, or Athanasius. All of these men apparently spent their lives without ever thinking of going to confession.

    Nobody but God was ever thought worthy of hearing confession and granting forgiveness.

    You think it always was done because you have been told or read by RC authorities, but this was a later invention. It was not declared an official dogma until the year 1215 A.D. (Auricular confession to a priest)

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  109. STG: The book you referenced is not a Catechism. It's just a book written by some priests.

    To absolve means to tell the person that God has forgiven them. ONLY GOD and God ALONE has the power to forgive sins.

    Prior to confessing to a priest, serious sins were confessed openly to the entire community and penances were similarly public. It really wasn't until the Irish penitentials came out that individual confession to a priest became the norm. You are correct in saying that this was about 1000 years after Christ's death and resurrection.

    So, the priest CANNOT and DOES NOT forgive sins. God does.

    To bring in a point that Lady Janus raised, if you were somewhere where you had no access to a priest, you could simply confess before God, sincerely asking to be pardoned and then trust in the forgiveness of God.

    One final point: Catholics believe that sin is SERIOUS. For this reason we treat it with seriously - thus we enlist the aid of a priest to help us confess fully and properly with aid (penance) designed to help us overcome the roots of sin within us.

    STG, I could dig out all types of quotes and materials from various evangelical ministers and writers that you would vehemently disagree with and state that it does not reflect the true teachings of the faith. Catholics are no different. This is why the Church published the CCC in the 1980's. It was intended to be a compendium of authentic church teaching. This is why I keep going back to what it offers and tend to stay away from other less reliable sources.

    There is much for us to legitimately disagree on! Let's not create new issues by bringing in secondary texts.

    Fr. Tim

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  110. Wayne:

    I provided you with references from one source of writings of early church leaders about confession. You chose to ignore them and quote Loraine Boettner who as you well know made it his life's work to attempt to refute RCC teaching.

    So you ignored completely what I gave you and carried on with your stuff. In other words you are not seeking the truth, but think you have it all, because you believe Boettner.
    It makes it pretty hard to have a dialogue with you, which is what we are attempting to do.

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  111. MBrandon,

    Michael, I have already in fact read the first webpage you referred to. It is an article about reconcilliation in general. All it does is explain what the claimed advantages are of reconciliation. It does not give any biblical support for confessing to an earthly priest rather than directly to Jesus Christ.

    I had a closer look at the second article. The reference to the Didache in 70 A.D. says
    "On the Lord's Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure." (Didache 4:14,14:1 -- A.D.70)

    Nothing wrong with this. This may refer to confessing to God directly, or it could be a general confession made on behalf of the congregation to God during a worship service. It mentions nothing about the sacrament of confession and penance privately to a priest.

    The letter of Barnabas is similar. It mentions nothing about the private confession to a man priest who then gives absolution and penance.

    Concerning Ignatius of Antioch in A.D. 110, the word penance is put in here. This is not a biblical word but is an invention of the RC church. The word in the bible is repentance which is an entirely different thing. Repentance means a change of heart. It is likely this reference was tampered with and in the translation to English the RC word "penance" was inserted in place of the biblical term repentance.
    But again this reference gives no support for the RC system of the private confessional with it's priesthood, absolution, and penance.

    The reference to Origen simply refers to what he said concerning a teaching in Leviticus ch2.
    But we know that God ordained the Jewish worship system and an earthly priesthood which offered sacrifices for sin. This was instituted by God and first few chapters of Leviticus talk about the meat offering, the sin offering, the trespass offering. The Old Testament priesthood was a picture looking forward to Christ or representative of Christ once for all offering of himself. Origen's homily in Leviticus does not prove that an earthly priesthood is authorized after Christ came. All of the Old Testament animal sacrifices were done away. They were only intended for the Jews in that time period. In order to have been a priest in the Old Testament, one had to have been part of the tribe of Levi and a Jew, which supplied the O.T. priests. The existence of the Old Testament priesthood does not give any support for a sacrificing priesthood or for a sacrament of reconciliation/penance in the New Testament.

    The other three fathers mentioned do make statements which would support the RC system of confession and penance. However, the dates given for them are 374 A.D., 387 A.D., and 388 A.D. There statements are not in accordance with the teachings of the apostles and prophets who wrote the New Testament. The Roman church was gradually developing in the period several centuries after the apostolic age.

    I am not ignoring your references. I am in fact examining them. I have not finished studying them. I will respond further.

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  112. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  113. Michael,

    "So you ignored completely what I gave you and carried on with your stuff. In other words you are not seeking the truth, but think you have it all, because you believe Boettner."

    You are incorrect. I did not ignore your references. As I said, I have been studying them as I have had time. I have been busy this week with other things as well and will be for the next couple of days. But I am interested in what those three webpages you gave said. I have commented on much of it. More to come.

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  114. Wayne:

    Thank you for your return comments. I have posted on my own blog site, a response to your quote from Boettner.

    You can only ignore the Catholic teaching from the beginning of Christianity with great effort.

    http://freethroughtruth.blogspot.com/2010/10/is-sacrament-of-confession-biblical.html

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  115. Michael,

    I will move over to Tim's other page specifically for the subject of the Sacrament of Confession to comment on one of your links above.

    http://frtimmoyle.blogspot.com/2010/10/is-sacrament-of-confession-biblical.html?showComment=1287179745539#comment-c6623223794976488758

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  116. Tim,

    Sorry, I see what the wastebasket is now. It is simply a way to let the author of a posting delete his own posting. I misunderstood but see it's purpose now.

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