Salvation before Chauvin and Arminius

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Bro. James, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. Bro. James

    Bro. James
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    John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius were 16th century Protestant Reformation notables. They were also excommunicated Romish priests??

    What was the soteriology debate for the 1500 years before these guys showed up?

    How were the Waldensians(burned as heretics) saved? There are many others to explore.

    Somebody take a group and study it out. Make a report on the BB.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  2. Matt Black

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    I have an answer for that but not one with which the majority of BBmembers would be happy...
     
  3. Chemnitz

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    Oh do share ;)
     
  4. Matt Black

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    First I need to clarify what Bro James means by "the soteriology debate"; if he wants to keep the discussion narrow between Calvinist and Arminian views then, from the Catholic side at least, the answer can largely be summed up in one word: Augustine (the Orthodox are typically more vague on the answer to this 'how' question). In about six weeks, when he's finished reading Augustine's works, then we can have a discussion!

    If on the other hand Bro James is asking "how were people saved prior to the 16th century?" then my answer would be that they were saved largely through the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and that the Reformation was essentially an overdue and successful attempt to correct the erroneous excesses of medieval scholasticism eg: Biel. That's the POV with which I think the majority here would take issue ;)
     
  5. Bro. James

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    Soteriology debate: saved by works, saved by grace/works, or saved by grace alone.

    Surely these issues did not just "appear" in the sixeenth century. The issue goes all the way back to Cain and Abel.

    The point about the Waldenses was to show that there were "unorthodox" groups who were not part of Rome, Constantinople, Wittenburg, etc. These were people who believed in salvation by grace alone. They also refused to baptize their infants, a practice which brought them no small amount of consternation from all sides.

    Augustine is not among the 66 books by divinely inspired authors. Whatever he wrote is subject to the same errors as other fallible men. That is why sola scriptura is such an important doctrine.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  6. billwald

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    Before the Roman Synod split from the Orthodox Catholic Church the church was more interested in including than excluding people. The purpose of the ecumenical creeds was to exclude gross heresies and anyone who subscribed to the creeds was considered to be a "Christian" and thus saved. They didn't sweat the details.
     
  7. Ray Berrian

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    It is my belief that as in medieval times as well as today their are R.C. who are saved because they love and obey the Lord to the best of their knowledge.

    Sure, there are a lot of doctrines that we reject, but they have been taught wrong.

    I believe the Lord will accept them as well as all other Christians who believe wrong doctrine.

    What do you think?

    Ray
     
  8. Matt Black

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    Bro James, to answer your question, I would suggest you read about the Synod of Carthage of 418 and its condemnation of Pelagianism (which was essentially salvation by works) and which was heavily influenced by Augustine (which is why his interpretation of Scripture is germane to your question) and the Synod of Orange of 529 which condemned semi-Pelagianism. In case you don't want to trawl through the link, here are the salient points of the latter synod:-

    From these two synods we can see that the Catholic Church (and indeed the Orthodox as they were one and the same until 1054 despite both these synods being held in the West) historically condemned salvation by works; this dogma was deviated from by the Catholic scholastics of the late medieval period such as Biel and Luther quite rightly condemned them appealing to Scripture as interpreted by Augustine. Interestingly enough, so did the first few canons of the counter-Reformation Council of Trent...food for thought...canon 3 of Trent is strongly reminiscent of Orange's condemnation of semi-Pelagianism and is pretty much on all fours with Luther

    The real Reformation conflict is whether that justification is forensic, external, proclamatory and imputed (stereotypically Protestant) or actual, internal, transformative/ sanctifying and infused (stereotypically Catholic). The discussions between Lutheran and Catholic theologians (including +++Benedict) which led up to the Augsburg Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification examined both the Book of Concord and the Council of Trent's declarations and came to the conclusion that the mutual anathemas did not really apply to each other, that the BC and CA were erroneously attributing salvation by works to the Catholic side; conversely the Tridentine Fathers wrongly believed the idea of imputed forensic justification to be a form of what we perhaps today might call 'easy believism'; further, that no serious Lutheran theologian would deny that justification does work a transformation in the believer's inner life and no Catholic scholar worth his salt would deny that the initiative in both saving faith and sanctification lies with God rather than the believer's own 'works.

    To sum up:-

    Council of Orange: we are saved by God's grace alone. Salvation is not by works.

    Luther: wot the Council of Orange said, plus this saving grace saves us in a declaratory way by saying that we are justified whilst we are still sinners ( simul iustus et peccatori ).

    Trent: we think this is easy believism and should be condemned; this justification must have some kind of transformatory consequences.

    Book of Concord: wot Trent sez above is 'salvation=faith+works' and is to be condemned

    Augsburg JDDJ: both Trent and the BC misunderstood each other: salvation is God's initiative and commences with forensic justification; however, that justification then proceeds to have an inner, transformative effect; however, further, that transformation is again God's initiative and work and is wrought by the Holy Spirit and is not any work of man - all man has to do is not resist that work of sanctifying grace.

    I would say that there is less of a difference between Catholics today and Luther than there was between Luther and Trent on the one hand and some of the aspects of medieval scolasticism on the other. I'm not even sure that Luther saw his emphasis as anything particularly new; he saw himself much more as turning the clock back to before the errors of scholasticism, which the first two or three Canons of Trent also condemned.

    [ November 15, 2005, 05:08 AM: Message edited by: Matt Black ]
     
  9. Doubting Thomas

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    Informative post, Matt--thanks. [​IMG]

    A good book dealing with some of the same subject matter you bring up is THE SPIRIT AND FORMS OF PROTESTANTISM by Louis Bouyer. (Disclaimer: he's a RC, but he deals with the subject matter in a fair, balance, non-polemical sort of way, commending the positive aspects of the Reformation while obviously disagreeing with what he perceives as the negative aspects)

    Regarding the Orthodox, they would definitely subsribe to synergism while repudiating both Pelagianism and "semi-Pelagianism" and while critiquing some of Augustine's predestinarian viewpoints. As best I can tell they believe in the absolute necessity of God's grace from start to finish and the importance of man's response/cooperation (to/with His grace) also from start (ie when God draws to Himself and initiates salvation) to finish (must by God's grace endure to the end).
     
  10. Janosik

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    Matt,

    excellent post! What is your take on it? What do you think about the JDDJ?
     
  11. billwald

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    "I believe the Lord will accept them as well as all other Christians who believe wrong doctrine."

    AMEN!!

    And non-christians who believe some wrong doctrine but get the rest correct? Does God grade on the basis of a correct interpretation of historical data?
     
  12. Ray Berrian

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    billwald,

    I believe Scripture teaches there is one main doctrine that saved people had to believe. The Christian has to believe that Jesus is Divine and can take away sins. This is the spiritual/historical data that must be understood and believed in order to be eternally saved.

    That is all that I understood when I was age eleven. But, as time continued He taught me more from His holy Word and from the experiences of other true believers and pastors.

    What do you think, Billwald?
     
  13. BobRyan

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    Matt, Mark Luke and John, Moses and Paul were among those who lived before Arminius and Calvin.

    Salvation was by grace through faith back then and God "So Loved the World" - yes "really".

    that is how it was BEFORE Calvin and Arminius.

    (Gal 1:6-11) ONE Gospel in ALL ages.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  14. Ray Berrian

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    Bob Ryan,

    And just think, we are in the everlasting Kingdom and made right in God's eyes, by Christ's righteousness, here and now and in Heaven.

    This is truly free grace!!!

    "Ray"
     
  15. Matt Black

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    Thanks!

    Re the Augsburg JDDJ, it kind of reminds me of the old joke headline, "Archduke Ferdinand found alive! First World War a mistake!" ie: "Catholics and Lutherans agree! Reformation a misunderstanding!" But seriously, I think there are still differences, chief among them being a difference in emphasis, in that Lutherans and indeed I think it is fair to say Protestants stress salvation as a crisis whereas those of a more Catholic and Orthodox bent place their emphasis on salvation as a process . Both agree that it is God who plays the starring role in our salvation from start to finish and that our works of themselves count for nothing.
     
  16. Bro. James

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    The "Cannons" of Orange--sink the ships of "works" and "partnership salvation".(A gem which can be found even in the Holy See encyclopaedia--but not in the current catechism)

    The doctrines of sovereign grace--a millenium before Chauvin--remarkable!!!

    Shall we go for the shores of Galilee circa A.D 30?

    Selah,

    Bro. James

    Thank-you for the report, Matthew.

    [ November 16, 2005, 10:42 AM: Message edited by: Bro. James ]
     
  17. Matt Black

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    What is even more remarkable is that the Catholic Church continued to adhere to Orange until the Late Middle Ages and only then did it stray into at least semi-Pelagianism, which Luther rightly corrected; although Trent does not go as far as Luther or the other Reformers it does go some way towards correcting that error; the JDDJ goes further still.

    Interesting that you mention the catechism. There's a page here, here and, most importantly, here which deal with these issues accoding to the Catholic Church.

    [ETA in response to Bro James' edit - you're welcome! [​IMG] ]

    [ November 16, 2005, 11:02 AM: Message edited by: Matt Black ]
     
  18. Bro. James

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    Indeed, some of the dogma of the Catechism seems to imply some sovereign grace doctrines. It is the dogmatic interpretations which throw salvation of the soul into an admixture/partnership between God and man in which man must provide his part and maintain something on a daily basis with a constant fear of not having done enough and not knowing for sure until death of the physical body, all of which is contrary to the scripture.

    "In vain they do worship, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men".

    There seems to be an extreme variance in definition of terms in trying to compare plain teachings of God's Word and the interpretations of men. Maybe that is why translations of scripture into the common vernacular were gathered and burned, along with those who dared translate such things. The "Geneva" Bible caused no small amount of consternation among the "religious powers that be" when this translation was first made. There is evidence that the "Geneva" wound up at "Plymouth Rock" in 1620--long before there were any "Baltimore Cathecisms". However, the conquistodores had made their was through the South and Southwest earlier than the Pilgrims. They were looking for gold and youthful fountains and other not so spiritual quests. If they had their catechisms in their saddlebags, I know not. They did leave a "Catholic " trail where ever they went--including the slaying of the natives, a practice which some of the colonists followed later.

    Selah,

    Bro. James

    [ November 16, 2005, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: Bro. James ]
     
  19. Matt Black

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    Yes, there is still the taint of late medieval scholasticism on the catechism; I'm not sure it's been revised since the JDDJ. Can anyone help there?
     
  20. Chemnitz

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    JDDJ, was a lot of words that did not say anything. Technically this is an "agreement" between the ELCA (The LWF is a puppet of the ELCA) and RCC. While the on the surface it looks like an agreement in reality they never discussed the heart of the issue. An excellent critique of JDDJ can be found in Justification and Rome by Robert Preus. The agreed that it is by grace through faith, but they never bothered to define what they mean by "grace" or "faith".
     

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