Imputed or Infused?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Jude, Jun 3, 2003.

  1. Jude

    Jude
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    Have been studying the RC view of justification, and am wondering, how the Cross fits in with this system? I fully understand most evangelical views, but am not-yet fully certain how the RC system of justification is effected by the Cross of Christ. Would be interested in reading responses from our RC brethren, as well as critiques from the Protestant folk, and also, any good books (from both sides)on the subject. Thanks.
     
  2. Carson Weber

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    The Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 7:

    Decree Concerning Justification

    "This disposition or preparation is followed by justification itself, which is not only a remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts whereby an unjust man becomes just and from being an enemy becomes a friend, that he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting. The causes of justification are: the final cause is the glory of God and of Christ and life everlasting; the efficient cause is the merciful God who washes and sanctifies gratuitously, signing and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance; the meritorious cause is His most beloved only begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, merited for us justification by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross and made satisfaction for us to God the Father; the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which no man was ever justified,..."
     
  3. LandonL

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    One question, why is the RC so Aristotelian in its doctrines?
     
  4. Ray Berrian

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    LandonL,

    The Roman Catholic Church, in Augustinian times, and Five point Calvinists since John Calvin have acquired much of their doctrine because Augustine studied deeply in Aristotelian and Socratic philosophy. Catholic theology has evolved in the right direction while Reformed Baptists, for example, remain caught in the web of Augustinian/ Calvinism.

    Such harsh and erronious views as to God's sovereignty and a God who only cares for certain sinners comes from the writings and pen of the quasi-theologian, St. Augustine. The scholastic background of this man and his view of the Being and nature of God comes more from a philosophical understanding of god, rather than the God of the Old and New Testament economies.
     
  5. GraceSaves

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    Hey,

    I was under the impression that St. Augustine was mainly working under Socratic/Plantonic ideas, whereas Aristotlean philosophy came more into play in the 13th century with folks like St. Thomas Aquinas. I could be wrong, though.

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  6. CatholicConvert

    CatholicConvert
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    Jude --

    Well, let me toss in my .02 worth.

    I think that in order to understand the framework of justification in the Catholic (and Orthodox) Faith, one must place it in the framework of a covenantal relationship. Only then does it make sense.

    Please understand that what I am about to say is my opinion, but I do believe it to be much closer to orthodoxy than heresy.

    I like Scott Hahn's response where he states that in the Catholic Faith, justification is the act of being made a son. It is sonship. With that sonship comes the responsibilities of being a child of God, as well as the inheritance which Christ Jesus, our Elder Brother, has obtained for us by His Cross work.

    Scripture speaks of eternal life as being an inheritance (Matt. 19:29). We are told that the Holy Spirit is the "earnest of our inheritance" (Eph. 1:14).

    Notice the familial terms used in describing the future glory. We are told that as sons and daughters we have an inheritance. By being brought into the covenantal family by faith, we become inheritors. But like all inheritances, this one also has conditions to it. If we do not keep the conditions, we may well lose the inheritance. Families on earth work this way and they are a pattern of the great spiritual family which is the covenantal kingdom.

    When we are baptized, we are making a covenantal oath. In the Old Covenant, the oath involved the shedding of blood and the cutting off of flesh. According to Ray Sutton, in his book THAT YOU MAY PROSPER - Dominion by Covenant, this act by the individual was an oath which had in it a self-maledictory curse. That curse stated simply: "If I break this covenant which I am entering into today, may my blood be forfeit and may I be cut off from the covenantal family" This was the nature of all Suzerainian covenants, which are patterns of the Biblical covenant.

    In like manner, the Sacrament of baptism involves both entering the covenant and taking a self-maledictory oath. When we are properly baptized (immersion), our baptism shows the world that we make an oath that we will either be faithful to the covenantal kingdom or suffer death ourselves. Thus we not only identify with Christ in His death, but pledge that this death, which He took on our behalf, will actually become ours in reality if we break the covenant and leave God.

    By this act of oath taking/covenant making, we experience initial justification. Catholic theology teaches that if a man dies a second after he has been baptized, he will go straight to Heaven?

    Why?

    Because he has been taken out of Adam and placed "in Christ" (Rom. 6:3 & Gal. 3:27). As such, he is clean and justified, a son (or daughter of God) and member of the family.

    But.....does this state of justification LAST FOR THE REST OF OUR EARTHLY LIFE??? This is where Protestantism and Catholicism differ. The Protestant paradigm is that we are "legally justified" and Christ's righteousness is "imputed" to us forever, making us justified no matter what we do in the future. Protestants traditionally go to the book of Romans to try to prove this point. Their appeal is to the phrases which state that God saw Abraham's faith and "imputed it to him for righteousness".

    The problem is that the word used for imputed does not mean what Luther and Calvin hatched up. It is the word "logizomai" and it is an accounting term which means that one counts what is really and truly there. Accountants do not deal in fiction. They deal in cold hard cash facts. The money is either right in front of them as they count -- or it is not. That is the substance of the word "logizomai".

    And this is what God did with Abraham and what He does with us as sons and daughters. He counted Abraham's faith as righteousness because further on in Romans we read that faith is righteousness. So when Abraham acted in faith, he acted righteously and God both saw and counted it as being really there.

    Covenants can be made, but they can also be broken. That is the nature of a covenant relationship. It is a personal union of two persons, each giving themselves to the other. But unlike an unbreakable legal contract, which is the Calvinist paradigm, a relationship can indeed be broken. One member of the covenant can dump the other one and pull out of the union.

    That is what we do when we sin against God. We strain the union we have with Him, and if serious enough, we actually destroy it (the Parable of the Prodigal is the story of such a destruction of a covenantal relationship) and have no more union with the other. In short, we can walk out of the relationship. This is called, in Catholic theology, "mortal sin".

    Not all sins are mortal sins. Not all sins sever the relationship with God and break the covenantal bonds between us. But there are sins which do, and when this happens, we must renew the covenant and restore the union.

    When we do, we re-enter the state of justification, or being in a sonship relationship. Like the prodigal, we never stop actually being a son (or daughter), but we can lose the relationship. If the Prodigal had died in the far country of sin, he would not have recieved the inheritance which was waiting for him at home (the father had more to give yet). Even though he was a son, he would have died out of favor and out of union with the love of the Father.

    The same thing is true of us. If we go to the far country of sin, we lose union with the Father and if we persist in staying there, we shall not recieve our inheritance, which is set aside in Heaven for us.

    Finally, we see in the story of the Prodigal a very good picture of covenantal restoration. First, he comes to his senses and repents in his heart of his foolishness. Next, he goes back to the father and in humility confesses his sins to the father. Upon hearing this confession, he is restored to the family and his place of honor (ring, sandals, robe).

    But the best part is the last. A covenantal meal is served. You see, in the Suzeranity covenants of old, the covenant was most likely to be sealed with a meal. You must have heard the term "let's seal the deal with a meal". Well, that's what is being done here, for the meal represents friendship, intimacy, and union with the host of the meal. Being called to the table of another is a distinct honor, especially when that one is of the higher honor and authority.

    The father calls for the fatted calf to be slain. Do you know what the fatted calf is in the OT? It is a sacrificial animal. It was offered, slain, and EATEN. God would not only receive the offering presented to Him for restoration of the broken covenantal relationship, He would then invite those who had come to dine with Him and enjoy His friendship again!!! How beautiful!!

    And how beautiful that we have a meal of covenantal restoration also. The Mass is the covenantal meal par excellance. The Victim is also the Host. He offers Himself and then invites us into an exquisite union with Himself by actually entering into our very being. THAT is fellowship, friendship, and union!! We are called to confess our sins (which should be done BEFORE Mass) and then restore our broken relationship by "sealing the deal with a meal." And God does not despize us that we need to do this repeatedly. He is glad to hear our confessions and glad to restore us, for He is a God Who loves mankind and longs to shower us with good things.

    And when this takes place, we are justified once again. The first justification, given in baptism, is called "initial justification". We are made sons and daughters. All the rest are called "progressive justification" for it is expected that as we continue to confess, repent, and return, we are to become more and more like Christ.

    Anyhow, hope that helps a bit.

    Cordially in Christ,

    Brother Ed
     
  7. Taufgesinnter

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    The biggest problem isn't necessarily between the Catholic view of infused righteousness and the Protestant view of imputed righteousness. It's with the misunderstanding of imputation itself. The Anabaptist view (and I think of course the Scriptural view) is that our faith is counted as though it were perfect righteousness. It's not "our righteousnesses" (to quote the usually cited OT verse) nor is it Christ's righteousness--it is faith being regarded as if it were righteousness itself. We aren't clothed in robes of Christ's righteousness, our robes are washed white in the blood of the Lamb. The imputation is done on account of Christ's atonement, but it isn't a transfer of righteousness--it's kind of like a bookkeeping fiction--we aren't righteous, but God counts us as though we were. And He doesn't see our sin because the mercy seat is covered by His Son's blood.
     

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