Cooperation with Salvation

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Thinkingstuff, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
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    Lately something has been bugging me. As many of you know my family is Catholic and unfortunately holidays (and any family get togethers like weddings) turn into debate fests over faith. Usually, I'm told how "screwed up" I am because I left the Catholic faith and often told how I have bought into "cheep grace". I am usually out numbered and with of my father yelling I get my sister saying things like "how I wish you would come back to the faith". My mother has a way of calling me a heretic without actually saying it and another year passes and I'm the black sheep of the family. Though, I point out I've never been to jail or been divorced unlike others in my family. Though for some reason that doesn't carry the weight I think it should.

    However, to the point. Many times I've discovered we say almost the same things but our languages are different. I think to get away from the consept that we can earn our salvation we tend to go the extreem in our speach and indeed "cheep grace" seems applicable. Yet I know we don't really mean "cheep grace". Not a one of us denies that as christians we should live our lives as in a race to perfection and strive for holiness in sanctification. We just over emphasise that we can not be saved of our own accord it is totally God's doing. The difference that we see in how many Catholics live their life is one of motivation. We often believe that the Catholics do "good deeds" to earn initial justification that we call salvation. Often we are correct for many catholics have this notion. We on the other hand perform "good deeds" out of a vibrant love and relationship that results from our intial justification. Though at times many of us holding to the extreme view so as not to seem to be earning salvation; don't even do "good deeds". And then we fight (argue) with each other.

    However, there is in my mind an issue with salvation because it often comes up as it did this holiday. Cooperation with salvation. As baptist we insist there is no cooperation and that it is entirely a gift of God. The Catholic will say something similiar to this but that Cooperation is part of salvation. Now when I review the bible I am confronted with this issue. Cooperation. Now God plans on destroying man because his every thought was evil. But to save some God explained to Noah that he needed to build a boat. Note God is given total Credit yet Noah built the boat. Is this a cooperation with salvation? Abraham was chosen by God to father a nation. However, it was Abraham that went out to a "land" God "would show you". God freed the Hebrews but it was Moses who spoke to pharoah. God gave the land to Joshua but it was Joshua who did the fighting. God heard Israel cry and delivered them from the midianites but it was Gideon who did the fighting. It was God who called men to worship but Solomon who built the temple. It was God who kept the Judeans from utter destruction but it was Esther who spoke to the King. God fulfilled his promise and brought the people back to the land but it was Ezra who requested it of the King and lead his people back. Once in the Land God protected them but the jews who rebuilt the wall. God becomes man but it is the virgin Mary that must carry Jesus in her womb and give birth. And even the bible is the very word of God but men put pen to paper. There is this keen interaction between God and man. What would you call it if not a cooperation? There is this mystical bond of God delivering man but man playing a part. How would you describe this? What are your views of these occurances? Remember in each of these cases God is given credit as though he did it himself but men certainly obeyed and participated in some sense. How can this be reconciled in our view?
     
  2. SpiritualMadMan

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    ????

    The Catholics say that "we" have cheap grace????

    What do you call it when you can sin like the devil all week as long as you go to confession on Saturday. if not Cheapened Grace???

    Jesus came to Free us from Sin, not excuse our sin...

    How often healing came with the edict, go and sin no more...

    Honestly, though, this is the first time I have ever heard of Catholics decrying "Cheap Grace"...


    As for "co-operating" with salvation one scripture comes to is where jesus asks Paul if it's hard to kick against the pricks... Acts 9:5 and 26:14

    I get the impression that Jesus was "Saving" Paul all along, but Paul wasn't exactly co-operating. :D
     
  3. Thinkingstuff

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    You make a good point pointing out Paul. However the previous statement is kind of shallow in the sense that this is an on going discussion with my family and the fact that we say faith alone suggest to them "cheep Grace" because in their mind you can do what ever you want no restrictions. They have a sacramental belief. Which is key in their faith. However, it might be pointed out that Paul said
    and also
     
  4. Dr. Walter

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    Noah "found grace in the sight of the Lord" BEFORE he was instructed to build the boat. The only picture of salvation the New Testament uses concerning Noah was Noah in the boat when the flood came (1 Pet. 3).

    I believe that a person is first saved by God and then with that salvation comes enablement not to be saved, not to obtain salvation but to serve as a person already saved with stefast assurance of eternal salvatin due to what Christ has already done, promised to do APART and WITHOUT anything you personal may or may not contribute by your service.

     
  5. Thinkingstuff

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    This does not sound any different then what my catholic relatives are saying. It seems your primary view of this is motivational. Yet they hold to the motiff: "I have been saved, I am being saved, I will be saved" And this "present tense" Cooperative working with God is also reliant on God being the "logical Cause". Or not of their own volition. Since their motivation is the same how is what you're saying any different? You can claim motivation (which is very tenuous difference) but then claim the same motivation according to their beliefs and documents.
     
  6. Dr. Walter

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    It may "sound" like what you Catholic relatives are saying but it is clearly not what they are saying. It is what Jesus said, "if you love me keep my commandments." The motivation here is "love" not fear of going to hell or necessity in order to get into heaven.

    Your Catholic relatives do not believe in a completed past action regeneration/justification that secures heaven APART FROM and WITHOUT your personal assistance, performance or good works even considered or contemplated. Your Catholic relatives do not view present tense salvation of your daily life as non-consequential in regard to entrance into heaven but only consequential for glorifying God before men, obtaining EXPERIENTIAL temporal blessings of eternal salvation now and eternal rewards in heaven.

    Although what your Catholic relatives position may "sound" like it is certainly far different than what I am defining those "sounds" to actually be.
     
  7. Thinkingstuff

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    How have you determined their motiviation? This is key. You can only assertain motivation by what they say of themselves and what their documents attest to.

    Certainly, they don't believe that a one time confession of faith "guarantees" the attaining of Heaven if they do nothing else the rest of their lives and remain "in sin". And they will ascribe to you 2 Timothey 4 to that end. As far as the present tense of Salvation of daily life they believe that you are saved "unto good works". Which is a redeeming of men to the state God initially intended for man rather than have them remain soley in sin. And that current sanctification works for the Glorification of God and the Theosis of the individual. ( to use their term).
     
  8. targus

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    I am confused.

    Why should it carry any weight?

    Some non-believers can say that their behavior is better than some who believe themselves to be saved.

    If one of your brothers or sisters converted to Islam and defended it based on being a better person than yourself - how would you respond?
     
    #8 targus, Jan 3, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2011
  9. SpiritualMadMan

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    Thinkingstuff...

    How do your folks view the 2nd Vatican Council?

    I don't think it was ever rescinded?

    But, not being actually a Catholic I don't know for sure.

    It was that document that encouraged Catholics to read their Bibles themselves. And, it was also that document which stopped referring to Protestants as "lost" and began to call us "Separated Brethren".

    Of course the last actual close fellowship I had with Catholics was some 20 years ago on Guam.

    So, I am sure some things have changed.

    But, during that time I had a good friend a Franciscan Capucin Priest who I visited at the Rectory so much even the "Sisters" thought I was a Jesuit in Plain Clothes! :)
     
  10. Thinkingstuff

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    You make a good point. Though of course my argument is the "proof is in the pudding". So to speak. Although, using the book of Hebrews motiff Jesus is superior so then my faith is superior by the testimony of life or of living life as James says
     
  11. targus

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    Part of your problem is that you are declaring yourself to be better behaved based on your standards and not those of your parents.

    By your parents standards (I am guessing) you not going to Mass is worse than whatever your brother did to land him in jail.

    Also - not sure why you think that not being divorced is better behavior than your divorced sibling.

    What was the circumstance of their divorce - who divorced who and for what reason?

    Also you are aware that there are divorced and remarried Baptist Pastors - do you but yourself above them?

    Also wondering why you are choosing some sins to be more or less offensive.

    You are sounding more Catholic than Baptist here.
     
    #11 targus, Jan 3, 2011
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  12. Thinkingstuff

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    As I said you make a good point. However, my parents have comparitive morality to Baptist and a little bit more strict in some senses. They distinguish sin from mortal sin and venial sin. Venial is more of bad habits that we might not consider sin. Mortal sends you to hell. Certainly, they type of things my brother went to jail for are mortal. For me "unknowingly" misunderstanding the Catholic faith and leaving it for another Christian one does not fall in the mortal catagory unless I was stubbornly refusing to understand the catholic faith or "knowing" the faith and still left. So in this sence may or may not be as bad.
     
  13. targus

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    As Catholics then your parents most likely believe that your brother can repent of and confess whatever sin landed him in jail.

    And they also most likely believe that for you repenting of your sin would require returning to the Catholic Church.

    So did you "misunderstand the Catholic faith"?

    Do you still?

    It sounds to me that you have a better understand of Catholic teachings than even your parents do.

    So what are the teachings of the Catholic faith that you don't understand?

    Or more likely - what Catholic teachings do you understand but reject?

    My point being if your decision to leave the Catholic faith or to not return to the Catholic faith is based on doctrine - why are you not talking about doctrine rather than you being a better person than your siblings?
     
    #13 targus, Jan 3, 2011
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  14. Thinkingstuff

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    All good points! Save for understanding the Catholic Faith better than my parents. My father was trained in Jesuit University and still maintains serious education in his faith.

    Several things bother me.
    1) Greek philosiphical incursion into the faith. Thus in order to explain or understand christian faith in the Catholic church it uses Greek philisophical terms to get accross its meaning and I wonder how much has been misconstrued based on this aspect.
    2) Though I'm strongly in favor of a communal belief system I do become nervous around "communion with the saints" in the sense that current dialogue is maintain with the plenary saints.
    3) Though I believe Mary played a significant role for the incarnation scripturally there is no discourse on her "immaculate conseption" Which makes me question her "assumption" into heaven. In any sense I don't understand why so many "more" prayers are offered a redeemed saint than prayers directly to God. This is a quantity issue rather than quality.
    4) Canon law seems in some respect to resemble to me Halakah and the same errors of the 1st century Jews.
    5) Certain aspects of communion.

    etc.....
     
  15. targus

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    So these are the reasons that you left or do not return to the Catholic faith?

    Are they all insurmountable to you?

    Or is one more important than another?

    Have you talked with your family on the most important ones - from a Scriptural point of view?
     
  16. Thinkingstuff

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    I'll be honest with you here Targus. The things I mentioned here are what I have issues with are on a logical/academic level. What is insurmountable to me when I get down to it; is experience. I was raised Catholic. Knew the prayers, partook in 1st communion and later confirmation. Yet I had no faith though I don't want to express the extent of my behavior before being in a position of reception of the gospel of salvation. When I heard the gospel of forgiveness through Jesus Christ and entry into his kingdom by faith. I believed. Like most catholics I grew up with the misconseption of getting the formula right. Though the Catholic Church purports not to teach it they didn't disuade it either when I was growing up. I do know this: when I believed my life changed and I was a new person. Despite the logic, the discussion, the knowledge, the study, and all the rest it boils down to what my experience is. At the very core of my soul this is the ultimate issue. One way change was affected the other way it was not. So which is real? I go with the life changing experience. And unfortunately I can't argue it except to say its like many other things the reality of something of the true knowledge comes in the experience of it.
     
  17. targus

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    We have another Baptist church in our town that got a new pastor a few years back. The first thing that he set about doing was to liven up the church - loud speakers, large screen monitors, a new sound board, a praise band, trips to paintball and the skateboard park, simulcast presentations of big name Christian concert performers, etc.

    There was an immediate jump in membership and church attendance.

    Everyone was talking about how "real" their faith feels when they are at that church.

    IMO some people confuse "feelings" with faith.

    Have you considered that one of the reasons that we are told to "keep the faith" is because sometimes we don't feel it - but are supposed to believe it and live it anyway?

    Just curious - what is your particular disagreement concerning communion?
     
  18. Thinkingstuff

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    I understand the "feeling aspect". Thats not what I meant though what you say is appreciated. I'm talking about a life change I was one way am now another. And its lasted beyond the "new born feeling" and is in my soul. I really don't have a way of explaining it save that I've had many feelings and experiences but a sure faith remained. And again unfortunately I can't detail it better than that. I get emotional at conserts but when I'm gone I forget the consert all together. This faith is with me and the emotions have long departed. Communion. Unlike many here at baptist board I believe in a mystical union between believer, community of believers, and the Lord at communion. I believe it goes beyond a "symbol". Unless we use the ancient term of symbol in the ancient meaning of it. But to define it as technically as transubstantiation which is reliant of Greek philosophy is a mistake. I believe this is a work of the Holy Spirit which unifies us to each other, the apostles, and to Jesus.
     
  19. DHK

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    Biblical Christianity is based on faith and faith alone. Catholicism is based on fear, not faith.
    Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
    Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God.

    There are countless Scriptures that show that salvation is by faith alone.
    We know that an infant cannot exercise faith. Out of fear of losing salvation he is baptized. There is no other reason for infant baptism. Look up the history of it. The RCC believes in baptismal regeneration. Without baptism there is no salvation. Thus baptize the infant lest it be lost.

    When one dies they go to purgatory. Prayers are said for those in purgatory so that their time may be shortened, so that their suffering may be lessened, etc. This is fear. It is fear of the one that is in purgatory that he might not suffer as greatly as if you did not pray regularly for him.

    Salvation is by works. If you don't work continuously, that is keep yourself from mortal sin, you will go to hell. One does not have assurance of salvation. This is fear. The RCC is a religion of fear, even when the Bible says over and over again that God is a God of love.

    For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son....
    For God commendeth (demonstrated) his love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
    God is a God of love; not of fear. The RCC is a religion of fear.
    The RCC teaches out of fear; Christ teaches to come to him by faith because he loves you. What a difference that is.

    Catholics pray to Mary. Why? There is a better chance (they think) that their prayers will be heard if Mary intercedes on their behalf to Jesus. Perhaps Jesus will be more willing to hear them if His mother asks on behalf of them. This indicates a fear of approaching Christ directly.

    They are instructed to confess their sins to a priest and not to God, through Christ. Is their a fear of confessing their sins straight to God? Does the RCC instill a fear in them that God will not hear them unless the RCC hears them first? It is a religion of fear.

    God is not a God of fear, but of love.
    Perfect love casts out fear.

    He states that we must accept his offer of love through faith and faith alone. There is no cooperation on that point. Salvation is by faith. Jesus paid the price for the penalty of sins. Baptism cannot help with our salvation, and neither can good works. Neither can purgatory. Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes unto the Father but by me." It is not through the RCC that one can gain entrance into heaven, but through Christ alone. Not through Mary, but through Christ alone; not through baptism, but through Christ alone.

    There are the basic differences. They are great and wide. One is by faith; the other is by fear. They are at polar opposites of each other.

    Once saved a true believer does good works, not out of cooperation, but because the Holy Spirit dwells in Him, and Christ has changed Him. He wants to serve Him, the one who saved him and gave him a new life in Christ. This is not cooperation; it is service out of a grateful and thankful heart for the one who died (personally) for he who was lost in sin. Now he knows that his sin has been forgiven--past, present and future. What a load has been lifted. What joy and love and peace has been gained. What a difference there is between being enslaved by the bondage of fear in the RCC and the freedom of the love of Christ and the peace that passes all understanding that only Christ can give.
     
  20. Dr. Walter

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    I was just responding to what you said their motivation was "Since their motivation is the same how is what you're saying any different?" -Thinkingstuff


    Apparently that is your interpretation of my words because I said no such thing. I did not divorce the past completed aspect of justification from all other aspects of salvation. I simply defined the past completed aspect as what obtains heaven in relationship to all other aspects which have not the same object.

    Just because heaven is secured by one aspect of salvation does not mean it is isolated or unrelated to all other aspects. It simply means the design and goal of one aspect is not the same as another aspect.
     

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