I know. It must be a real pain to deal with the Bible as it actaully reads. Better instead you can just go on "interpreting" it to say what you want it to.
Not painful at all. It's actually rather easy most of the time. You should try it.
I do it all the time, that's why I'm Catholic.
Sorry, scripture is clearly not on your side on this. If future sin had no effect on salvation, then why did Paul, in all of his letters to the Church of God-which were already believers and therefore "saved" constantly teach them to not sin? Seems rather superluous to talk so much about avoiding sin when avoiding or not avoiding it-that is assuming your theology to be true-makes no wit of difference.
Paul should have spent more time on the Rapture or the first Mellinium, shouldn't he? Or maybe refuting James' words about not being saved by faith alone?
Why do the Scriptures all say that we will be judged on our deeds, what we do? If faith alone saves us, then why is there any judgement for what we've done?
Sin has serious consequences in our lives. Just because one of them isn't eternal damnation doesn't mean Paul didn't need to warn us against it.
Sin has eternal consequences because the One we offend is etrnal. Unrepented sins-sins we refuse to separate ourselves from-will be the means by which we will be damned(Rom 6:16).
I'm afraid that you make too light the weight of sins committed by believer. A feather by itself is light when considered in isolation, yet a ton of feathers will crush you. I'm sure you'll agree that in this life constant repentance is necessary and you may just be taking that fact for granted in your theology. Or you may see repentance as just another "work" and therefore superfluous? I don't know.
What I do know is that when you examine John's gospel and his letters John always juxtaposed "believing" and 'doing'(whether that 'doing' was 'eating', or 'loving', or 'obeying') and that these juxtapositions were intentional. Like as in John 6, to believe meant that we must 'eat', to 'eat' meant that we believed. In John's teachings there was always a commandment-an act-that completed our faith. So I think it an error to read one verse in isolation without taking into account not only the rest of the immediate text but the gospel as a whole and his letters as well.
This corresponds with James 2 and with many other comments not only by Paul but in the gospels as well about the necessity of good deeds to complete our faith.
Which you proved nothing but how subjective and relative your "framework" is. You only presume the Church's framework is circular because you refuse to do the historical work to determine whether or not the Catholic Church is the true Church. So long as you remain in that ignorance you can continue to make the claim of circularity. But once the Church is proven to be the true Church your objection flies out the window and so does your "framework". The last options after that would be to either submit to the Church's true authority or disobey God and continue with your beliefs.
Lots of assertions here, not much by way of argument.
Then prove my premises wrong. You and I both know that the historical evidence is plentiful in regards to the proof of the Resurrection. Then there should be the same historical evidence in regards to His Church. Look into the evidence and prove me wrong.
You say "Catholic" like its a derogatory remark...Thank You! If my humility bothers you I apologize. But if you insist about 5 years ago I went from atheism to Catholicism. A couple years ago I finally shed my last few protetsant qualms having to do with Mary and the Communion of Saints after reading a few books, prayer, and speaking with some really good apologists-both Catholic and protestant. Oh, and just recently I went from strict conservatism to a more classical libertarianism.
You feel as though I and every other Catholic on this board is obviously flawed. I'll make to you the very same challenge that I make to every other protestant I come to. You promise to give me your best shot and I promise to be entirely open and objective to your claims and if you can convince me that your theology is in accord with the Bible then I will immediately convert and go to the next protestant Sunday service.
I'm dead serious. I'm so dead serious that I'll even give you my personal email address and we can correspond there. Because I want to know the Truth. And I promised God that I would follow the Truth no matter where it leads me, even if that it to somewhere I wouldn't expect.
I made that challenge to several protestants here and many more around where I live. None of them here took up my challenge and only a few around where I live are still in contact with me-including some JW's that frequent my neighborhood. Out of three protestant pastors, two I have sent letters asking questions about their teachings that I have yet to get responses from and another who after my first set of questions never responded at all.
It isn't intended as derogatory, so don't take it as such. You also shouldn't attribute motivations and feelings to others. I don't even know what you mean by saying that I think every Catholic here is "flawed." Flawed in what sense? Moral? Of course. We're all morally flawed. Doctrinally? Clearly, otherwise I would be a Catholic. By either token you would consider all Protestants flawed. So your point?
I consider protestant theology flawed and a gross deviation from the faith of the Church. That's not the fault of protestants but those who continue to teach them these falsehoods.
As far as what I attribute I do so according to what they say. That's the thing about words and what words are chosen, you can usually infer the temperment of the person by the words they choose.
As to your "challenge," you can email me if you like. I think my address is public on my blog, but all the same it's email@example.com
. As I've said before, I've little interest in debating theology on these boards. For the most part, I just answer questions that people have.
But it's good to see that you have a history of allowing your theology to develop in light of evidence you had not previously considered.
Thank you. But I've found in my studies that however "my" theology may "develop" my discoveries are merely things that the people of the Church over the centuries had already discovered. I'm merely standing on the shoulders of the real spiritual giants who had already done all of the hard work before me.
So what was the shift?
I agreed with Hodges' argument that belief in the Resurrection was not a necessary condition for salvation. I was always uncomfortable with it, but that discomfort didn't cause me to change my view. Studying the issue and conversations with friends regarding the details of his argument did.
So you already had a predisposition for favoring the view you didn't yet hold? I don't know if I would truly call that substantive? Not nearly as substantive as going from an evangelical protestant soteriology to even an Anglican or, dare I say, even a Catholic soteriology.
jac, if I you take one verse of the Bible, form an entire theology around that one verse, and ignore or explain away others verses that contradict that theology then your method is obviously flawed. You'd be better off just taking a felt-tipped marker and start making your Bible look like a redacted file from the Pentagon.
Even if I conceded that my theology was built on one verse (which I don't), your argument would still sound silly to me. If John 3:16 (among other verses) teaches exactly what I read it to teach, then the fact that it so teaches it means that no other verse can contradict it
. In other words, one verse is sufficient to establish a doctrine. We don't "count verses" and say, "Well, thirty-three verses teach X, but nine hundred verses teach Y; X and Y are incompatible; so I accept Y." That's positing a contradiction in Scripture. I don't believe there are any such contradictions, so in addition to nearly one hundred other verses, John 3:16 is sufficient to establish salvation by faith alone in Christ alone.
The contradiction lies in that you read "alone" into the verse. The reason why I can show that the Bible contradicts your theology is not because of the Bible but because of what you read into it. Therefore its not the Bible that is flawed, but how you read it.
There are no contradictions in the Bible, nor are there contradictions between the Bible and the Church because the Bible IS the book of the Church-the Body of Christ and the family of God. We all agree here that Christ alone saves
, that is fundamental to being a Christian. Our differences come from how we believe He saves. If you believe that He saves according to your theology then I find that there should be little if any "interpreting" of the text required when speaking about something this important. It should clearly say what you believe in the context not only of the gospel of John itself but along with the whole of the Bible as well as having the witness of the Church from the Apostolic and post-Apostolic age to the present.
Faith "alone" is a protestant invention. Saved by faith through God's grace alone is the Catholic position. The reason why John 3:16 doesn't teach ES is because it doesn't teach "faith alone". The reason it doesn't teach "faith alone" is not only because "alone" doesn't appear in the text but also includes the reasons I posted above.
If John did
teach faith alone then Polycarp of Smyrna, Ignatius of Antioch, and Irenaeus of Lyon-all of them being products of John's "school" must have also believed in "faith alone". Yet in none of their works does the theology even appear. In fact their emmense volume of writings show the exact opposite.
On the other hand all of their works support the Catholic position not only in soteriology, but also in ecclesiology, eschatology, etc.
Yet Christ promised that He would not leave His Church orphans and that he would always be with them and would send His Spirit to lead us into all the Truth.
I could agree that all revealtion concerning God is complete in Him. But it doesn't follow from that premise that what He revealed could not or would not be further developed or defined. Nor does it follow from that premise that the Apostles did not nor could not endow those approved men who followed their footsteps with their authority(2 Tim 2:2). It seems more reasonable that Christ would want a continued line of shepherds following the Apostles to guide and direct and teach the generations that came after them, and to further teach, form, bless, and confirm new bishops to spread the Apostles traditions down to the present.
You're just presuming an ecclesiology I disagree with. I'm glad the monarchical episcopate and apostolic succession make more sense to you than organic elder rule and the autonomy of the local body of believers. They don't to me.
I'm not "assuming an ecclesiology", I'm going by the data of history.
You seem to be assuming that an episcopate isn't in your term "organic" which I find to be a rather subjective statement. It shouldn't be about "what makes sense to you", it should be about what is true regardless as to what makes sense to you or not.
jac, I used to be one of those kids who accosted people and asked them, "are you saved?!"or "If you die tomorrow do you KNOW if you're going to heaven or not?" I watched how my pastor "evangelized". So call it "naive" all you want, you know I'm right on this.
The only people reading the Bible purely for historical purposes are SO few it is hardly worth using as an argument. Be it historians, anthropologists, materialists, etc.; they hardly make up the great majority of people who open the Bible on even a weekly or monthly basis, much less a daily one. They are the bleak exception, not the rule.
I certainly don't know you are right on this, and don't you find it rather silly to presume you know better than I do what I know? I read the Bible for purely historical purposes all the time. I know plenty of others that do. But outside of that, even if I granted that few do, that wouldn't prove that it couldn't be done. Just the opposite.
My point wasn't that they can't. My point is that very few if any people approach the Bible objectively. I've seen some historians who say that they read the Bible purely for "historical reasons" utterly trash it. Others may, like myself, approach the Bible as merely a reliable account of history and wind up believers as I did(that is once I decided to remove my prejudices and submit in docility to its words). But that required me to have a predisposition towards its possibility.
The thing about believing in anything is that you have to be already predisposed to its possibility. You and those you know have no problem reading the Bible as history can do so because you are already predisposed to its truth. You have no problem with its history because you also have no problem with Gid or its cosmology.
Those who are predisposed against it are going to read into it whatever they want in order to trash it(just watch all of those shows on the history channel around Easter and Christmas and those who call themselves "history professors"). They approach it already disbelieving in its fundamental claims about Jesus' divinity, etc., as well at any references to cosmology. And they treat it accordingly.
It is impossible to read the Bible as history and be indifferent to what its real message is.
I wasn't talking about MCCullagh...and you, albeit rather deftly, dodged my question.
Then please rephrase.
In principle, you went to an authority outside of the Bible to substantiate the Resurrection. Not saying that is in itself unwise. But if you're going to other sources outside the Bible to support a belief, on what principle do you reject other valid historical sources aside from that they don't agree with your theology?
"Authority" simply put means "author's rights". And as I said, its called an analogy for a reason. That science textbook is not from God. The Church IS from God, and the Church is the one that produced the NT writings and proclaimed what books belonged in the Bible canon. Therefore because of that authority(God), it(the Church) demands my assent through the textbook(the Bible).
The only way for you to make this argument is to insist that Jesus founded the Church as you understand it, which is a premise I reject. It's certainly unwarranted, as Jesus says less about the Church's authority in interpreting the Scriptures than He does about the canon of Scriptures. You can't, in any case, base this argument on either the authority of Scripture or of Tradition without begging the question.
Not true at all. But since you're not here to debate theology should I even bother to post how you are wrong? Or if I did would you even give a response beyond saying that I'm merely "preaching"?
I'll do it anyway, just to show how Christ identified the Church with Himself and gave the Church authority on earth that was properly His.