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Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Brother Adam, Feb 24, 2002.
Here is another Poll
This new option is cool!
But what's the question?
In my perception, I see this pole hinting towards a difference in Protestant and Catholic soteriology. With this in mind, I figured that this would be a good place to post some canons (definitive measures of faith proclaimed infallibly by a council of the Christian Church) that show precisely and wholly that Catholics reject any idea correlative with Pelagius, who taught what an innumerable amount of Protestants mistakenly believe the Catholic Church to teach:
These are from the Council of Orange in A.D. 529, which was a particular council. The acts of the council - which were signed by the bishops, the pretorian prefect Liberius and seven other distinguished laymen - were forwarded to Rome and approved by Boniface II on 25 January, 531, whereby they enjoy the authority of an ecumenical council.
I cannot stress enough the importance that everyone be familiar with these rules of Catholic faith.
CANON 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me” (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).
CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, “The will is prepared by the Lord” (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
CANON 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism -- if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.
CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).
CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, “For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, “Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).
CANON 8. If anyone maintains that some are able to come to the grace of baptism by mercy but others through free will, which has manifestly been corrupted in all those who have been born after the transgression of the first man, it is proof that he has no place in the true faith. For he denies that the free will of all men has been weakened through the sin of the first man, or at least holds that it has been affected in such a way that they have still the ability to seek the mystery of eternal salvation by themselves without the revelation of God. The Lord himself shows how contradictory this is by declaring that no one is able to come to him “unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44), as he also says to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17), and as the Apostle says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3).
CANON 16. No man shall be honored by his seeming attainment, as though it were not a gift, or suppose that he has received it because a missive from without stated it in writing or in speech. For the Apostle speaks thus, “For if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose” (Gal. 2:21); and “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men” (Eph. 4:8, quoting Ps. 68:18). It is from this source that any man has what he does; but whoever denies that he has it from this source either does not truly have it, or else “even what he has will be taken away” (Matt. 25:29).
CANON 18. That grace is not preceded by merit. Recompense is due to good works if they are performed; but grace, to which we have no claim, precedes them, to enable them to be done.
CANON 19. That a man can be saved only when God shows mercy. Human nature, even though it remained in that sound state in which it was created, could be no means save itself, without the assistance of the Creator; hence since man cannot safe-guard his salvation without the grace of God, which is a gift, how will he be able to restore what he has lost without the grace of God?
CANON 20. That a man can do no good without God. God does much that is good in a man that the man does not do; but a man does nothing good for which God is not responsible, so as to let him do it.
I hope this lays the record straight in the eyes of both Protestants and Catholics (as Catholics themselves find themselves in error over this doctrine when reacting, honestly though unnecessarily, to false assumptions by non-Catholics).
If you need to, I do recommend copying/pasting these canons to a text file, printing them out, and reading them. Or, to at least keep them for in the future, so that we do not bear false witness against one another.
Thank you so much and God bless everyone,
Can you be saved by works?
Depends on who does the works.
Actually the question was totally out of the blue just because I wanted to try the poll option out.
Thank you for that most helpful post. I keep posting about graced works on this board but you just handed me some very good examples, from the Church, of what is meant by graced works.
I did copy off your post and will be using it.
May I ask if you got this off the Net or where?
I hope that you understand I was not concerned with your intention, but of how the poll would be perceived by its participants, esp. since the whole "Faith/Works" controversy pertains almost exclusively to Catholic/Protestant dialogue.
Thank you for the opportunity for me to clarify the Catholic rules of faith outlined above. I hope that mutual respect and understanding will come from a careful reading of them.
You are right on about the importance of who does the works. If they are the works of Jesus Christ, done by His grace in and through the believer...
its very different than someone trying to do those same works on their own by ungraced human efforts. I pray that Baptists on this board will begin to understand this essential difference when in a discussion on good works with Catholics.
Yes, go to http://www.newadvent.org and click on "councils" on the left menu bar to access the documents and background of both particular and ecumenical councils. However, Orange (529) is not available on that site. I did a web search and found this site:
I also feel that the conclusion of the Council provides a very good overview of the Catholic faith in addition to the various rules of faith:
"And thus according to the passages of holy scripture quoted above or the interpretations of the ancient Fathers we must, under the blessing of God, preach and believe as follows. The sin of the first man has so impaired and weakened free will that no one thereafter can either love God as he ought or believe in God or do good for God's sake, unless the grace of divine mercy has preceded him. We therefore believe that the glorious faith which was given to Abel the righteous, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and to all the saints of old, and which the Apostle Paul commends in extolling them (Heb. 11), was not given through natural goodness as it was before to Adam, but was bestowed by the grace of God. And we know and also believe that even after the coming of our Lord this grace is not to be found in the free will of all who desire to be baptized, but is bestowed by the kindness of Christ, as has already been frequently stated and as the Apostle Paul declares, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake" (Phil. 1:29). And again, "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and it is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). And as the Apostle says of himself, "I have obtained mercy to be faithful" (1 Cor. 7:25, cf. 1 Tim. 1:13). He did not say, "because I was faithful," but "to be faithful." And again, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7). And again, "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (Jas. 1:17). And again, "No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven" (John 3:27). There are innumerable passages of holy scripture which can be quoted to prove the case for grace, but they have been omitted for the sake of brevity, because further examples will not really be of use where few are deemed sufficient.
"According to the catholic faith we also believe that after grace has been received through baptism, all baptized persons have the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labor faithfully, to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul. We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema. We also believe and confess to our benefit that in every good work it is not we who take the initiative and are then assisted through the mercy of God, but God himself first inspires in us both faith in him and love for him without any previous good works of our own that deserve reward, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacrament of baptism, and after baptism be able by his help to do what is pleasing to him. We must therefore most evidently believe that the praiseworthy faith of the thief whom the Lord called to his home in paradise, and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent, and of Zacchaeus, who was worthy to receive the Lord himself, was not a natural endowment but a gift of God's kindness."
This is a beautiful and concise summary of the Catholic faith, as it was believed in the 6th century by the entire Christian Church and as it is believed today by the self-same communion of believers.
[ February 24, 2002, 09:02 PM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
But I do believe that Pauline and I would still disagree with salvation being by grace through faith.
Our pastor preached from John 1 this morning, and I noticed the following from verse 12:
(John 1:12 KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
It is my understanding from speaking with Pauline that in the RCC, salvation is based on more than one's faith.
Though there may be shared beliefs between Baptists and Catholics, the differences in beliefs are still broad.
Yes, Catholics believe that our salvation is dependent upon faith, hope, and love. If, what you mean by "faith" encompasses these three theological virtues, then you are in agreement with Catholic faith. If, what you mean is merely an intellectual faith, then you are not in agreement with Catholic doctrine.
Please take the time to read through both the canons (rules of faith) and the concluding paragraph from the Council of Orange in A.D. 529, which describes the faith of all Christians and Christian Bishops then and the faith of the Catholic Church now. In these statements of faith, you will find just what Catholics believe apart from subjective perceptions gained from reading individual Catholic believers' viewpoints.
[ February 24, 2002, 09:23 PM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
Of course I am not in agreement with Catholic doctrine. That is why I'm a Baptist.
As for what I meant by faith . . . of course I do refer to it in an intellectual manner.
In addition to the canons from Orange (529) above and the two conclusionary paragraphs (which are demonstrations of the defined doctrine against the objections of the Semipelagians), I would like to share an outline of the canons that will help you decipher the technicalities within and the confusion that may abound.
1. Causes of the necessity of grace. They are:
(a) original sin which cannot be wiped out without it
(b) the weakness of the will resulting from the fall of man
(c) the very condition of creature
2. Operation of grace before justification. It precedes every effort conducive to salvation. From it proceed:
(b) the desire of justification
(c) the inception of faith
(d) every effort towards faith
(e) every salutary act
(f) every preparation to justification
(g) all merit
3. Operation of grace in initial justification or baptism. It restores, justifies, improves, & confers the justice of Christ.
4. Work of grace after justification in the just. It is necessary for good actions, perseverance, the taking of vows, Christian fortitude, the life of Christ within us, & the love of God.
Adam you should have rephrased the question: Can you be saved by your works?... I would have given you a resounding answer of..."NO"... Brother Glen
May I make a humble suggestion. You might want to quote the bible and stop quoting Catholic doctrine. Quoting Catholic doctrine is pretty much the same thing as quoting the Koran for most of us here...it doesn't mean anything. The bible is the ONLY Christian authority to which we are supposed to put ultimate faith. The Catholic church CANNOT POSSIBLY say that they can change any law and still be a Christian denomination (this includes the sabbath day or salvation or the situation with Mary)
How about I quote some Catholic doctrine as well:
The Roman Catholic Church published a new Catechism in 1992 in Latin and the English translation was completed in 1994.
Check out this excerpt.
SALVATION INCLUDES THE MUSLIMS
841 The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.
'The Pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to
dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ." 'The Pope
has authority and has often exercised it, to dispense with the
command of Christ." Decretal, de Tranlatic Episcop. Cap.
and two more
In the Council of Toulouse, the church leaders ruled: "We
prohibit laymen possessing copies of the Old and New Testament ...
We forbid them most severely to have the above books in the
popular vernacular." "'The lords of the districts shall carefully
seek out the heretics in dwellings, hovels, and forests, and even
their underground retreats shall be entirely wiped out." Council
Tolosanum, Pope Gregory IX, Anno. Chr. 1229.
The church Council of Tarragona ruled that: "No one may possess
the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language,
and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local
bishop within eight days after the promulgation of this decree, so
that they may be burned." D. Lortsch, Histoire de la Bible en
France, 1910, p. 14.
Can I ask you a favor? I've been looking all over the place for a copy of the decretal "De Tranlatic Episcop. Cap.," since it seems to get cited by Seventh-Day Adventists a lot. Unfortunatly, I can't find one anywhere -- not online, not in libraries, etc. (It's particuarly hard to look for it, since the folks who cite it never say who wrote it, or when, so I don't have much to go on.)
Could you tell me where you found the copy you're citing, so I can look at it myself?
What Carson posted tells what Catholics believe about salvation by grace. It should be read carefully by everyone on this board who accuses Catholics of saying they are saved by their own works. Carson's post answers that very well.