Wednesday, August 06, 2008

St. Paul's Teaching on the Organic Relationship of Grace, Faith and Works, and Obedience (50 Passages)

By Dave Armstrong (8-6-08)

Romans 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, (cf. Acts 6:7)

Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live."

Romans 2:6-7 For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; (cf. 2:8; 2:10)

Romans 2:13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. (cf. James 1:22-23; 2:21-24)

Romans 3:22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction;

Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,

Romans 8:13 for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. (cf. 2 Cor 11:15)

Romans 8:28 We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?"

Romans 14:23 But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Romans 15:17-18 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed,

Romans 16:26 but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith -- (cf. Heb 11:8)

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. (cf. 3:8; Mk 16:20)

1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it.

1 Corinthians 9:27 but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.

2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

2 Corinthians 1:24
Not that we lord it over your faith; we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.

2 Corinthians 6:1 Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.

2 Corinthians 8:3-7 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints -- and this, not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. Accordingly we have urged Titus that as he had already made a beginning, he should also complete among you this gracious work. Now as you excel in everything -- in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us -- see that you excel in this gracious work also.

2 Corinthians 10:15 We do not boast beyond limit, in other men's labors; but our hope is that as your faith increases, our field among you may be greatly enlarged,

2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one -- I am talking like a madman -- with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 5:6-7 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:14-16 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith;

Philippians 4:3 And I ask you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Colossians 3:23-25 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

1Thessalonians 1:3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:8 inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfil every good resolve and work of faith by his power,

1 Timothy 6:11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:18-19 They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed.

2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.

2 Timothy 2:22 So shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good deed.

Titus 3:8 The saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men.

Titus 3:14 And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Papal Infallibility ("his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable")

By Dave Armstrong (8-4-08)

It is incorrect to say that the pope is not infallible in and of himself when he properly exercises that gift, and this is contrary to the proclamations of Vatican I and Vatican II. Though the pope in fact almost always acts in concert with the bishops, it is not intrinsically required that he do so, and they are always subject to his supreme authority.

A clear example of this is Humanae Vitae: an infallible document that not only was not produced in concert with the bishops, but whose truth was denied by many bishops and priests, as a current post on this board details. To deny the charism of papal infallibility for the pope alone is the medieval heresy of conciliarism. Conciliar infallibility (also considerably developed by Vatican II) applies only when a council is subject to the pope, and his approval in all respects. Thus, Vatican I stated:
Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.

So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.

[ link ]
Accordingly, Fr. William G. Most wrote:
C) Third Level: Pius XII, in Humani generis:

    Nor must it be thought that the things contained in Encyclical Letters do not of themselves require assent on the plea that in them the Pontiffs do not exercise the supreme power of their Magisterium. For these things are taught with the ordinary Magisterium, about which it is also true to say, 'He who hears you, hears me.' [Lk 10. 16]. . . If the Supreme Pontiffs, in their acta expressly pass judgment on a matter debated until then, it is obvious to all that the matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be considered any longer a question open for discussion among theologians.
We notice: (1) These things are protected by the promise of Christ in Lk 10. 16, and so are infallible, for His promise cannot fail . . . (2) Not everything in Encyclicals, and similar documents, is on this level - this is true only when the Popes expressly pass judgment on a previously debated matter, (3) since the Church scattered throughout the world can make a teaching infallible without defining - as we saw on level 2 -then of course the Pope alone, who can speak for and reflect the faith of the whole Church, can do the same even in an Encyclical, under the conditions enumerated by Pius XII. Really, on any level, all that is required to make a thing infallible is that it be given definitively. When a Pope takes a stand on something debated in theology and publishes it in his Acta, that suffices. The fact that as Pius XII said it is removed from debate alone shows it is meant as definitive.

( "Hierarchy of Truths and Four Levels of Teaching" )

* * * * *

This is reiterated in Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, III, 25, which cites the earlier definition and expands upon it:
And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith.

[ link ]

* * * * *

Further clarifications on what infallibility does and doesn't mean:

The pope must always act consistently with received Tradition. That's a given in Catholic ecclesiology (theology of the Church). He can never declare something out of the blue that has no precedent whatsoever. It has to be in line with the apostolic deposit, that goes all the way back to Jesus and the apostles.

The Church is not ultramontanist. That position was shot down in 1870, if by it (people sometimes disagree on its definition) someone means that absolutely everything (or even a great deal of what) the pope says is infallible, even going beyond the constriction of such decrees having to do with faith and morals. This is not true. There are carefully defined, strict conditions when his words are to be regarded as infallible.

The Catholic doesn't accept every word a pope utters as Gospel Truth. I disagree with the present pope and the last one, for example, on the war in Iraq. I think a reasonable, traditional case can be made against their views on capital punishment (I would disagree in the case of mass murderers; otherwise I agree with them).

We mustn't deny the special charism given to Peter alone (both/and, not either/or), simply because something like it was also given to others. Lumen Gentium stated, to the contrary:
. . . they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, . . .
There are many indications in Scripture that Peter and by implication also later popes receive a special charism unique to them:

1) He alone is given the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt 16:19).

2) All the apostles were given the power to bind and loose, but only Peter received it by name (Matt 16:19).

3) Peter is regarded as the Chief shepherd (Jn 21:15-17; cf. 1 Peter 5:1).

4) Jesus prays for Peter in particular, that his faith would not fail (Lk 22:32).

5) Peter is exhorted by Jesus to "strengthen your brethren" (Lk 22:32).

6) Peter alone is told that he has received divine knowledge by a special revelation (Matt 16:17).

7) Peter utters the first anathema (on Ananias and Sapphira), which is confirmed by God: they were killed (Acts 5:2-11).

We gain nothing good by watering-down the prerogatives and charisms of the Holy Father, which are unique in the Church.

Nor does the orthodox Catholic deny conciliar infallibility. I wrote above:
Conciliar infallibility (also considerably developed by Vatican II) applies only when a council is subject to the pope, and his approval in all respects.
I not only acknowledged conciliar infallibility (rightly understood) but even noted that it was developed by Vatican II. This was emphasized by Fr. John A. Hardon, in his catechism that I was required to read when I was received into the Church by him. 

The medieval heresy of conciliarism, on the other hand, held that the council was the supreme authority in the Church, not the pope. The Church declared against this.

The Legitimacy of the Term "Anti-Catholic" as a Noun as Well as an Adjective

By Dave Armstrong (8-4-08)

It's been stated that anti-Catholic, if used at all, is properly utilized only as an adjective and not as a noun (e.g., "the anti-Catholics on the Internet often blast Catholic Mariology"). The much more frequent usage is indeed as an adjective, but it is not altogether improper to also use it as a noun. As an analogy, take, for example, anti-Communist. That word can be either an adjective or a noun, in the same form, too:
1) adj.: characterized by opposition to Communism.
2) noun: one who is opposed to Communism.
To illustrate, a Canadian news source included this sentence in an article from 25 July: "In Berlin, Obama almost sounded like Ronald Reagan, who became a strong anti-Communist by fighting them in Hollywood."

Or, see an article by Rich Lowry, from 2-29-08, where he wrote: "[the late William F.] Buckley was an anti-Communist to the marrow of his bones, whose lifelong mission was to crush totalitarianism."
Anti-abortionist is habitually used in the same way. And anti-Catholic works similarly, by straightforward analogy:
1) adj.: characterized by the viewpoint that Catholicism is not Christan.
2) noun: one who believes that Catholicism is not Christan.
So we could say, "John Knox's position on the Catholic Church was anti-Catholic: that is, characterized by belief that it was not a Christian system of theology or Christian worldview." That's a lot of work, especially if multiple use is involved. So we can express the same sentiment by using a noun instead: "John Knox was an anti-Catholic." I don't see anything ungrammatical about that at all. If I did, I certainly wouldn't use the word in this fashion myself.
For some reason, dictionaries often don't list anti-Catholic. This is the case in my huge 2129 page volume, that looks like the New York white pages. But it has several analogous "anti" terms listed (in identical form) as both noun and adjective, or noun only:
antiabolitionist n. one who opposes abolition. (no adjective listed)
antichristian a. opposed to Christians or Christianity.
antichristian n. one opposed to Christians or Christianity.
Antifederalist (both forms listed)
anti-Gallican (both forms listed)
anti-imperialist n. (no adjective listed)
antimason n. (no adjective listed)
antinomian (both forms listed)
antisabbatarian n. (no adjective listed)
antislavery (both forms listed)
antitrinitarian (both forms listed)

That's sufficient to more than rest my "grammatical case" on this, I think, but I can also cite (non-Catholic) scholars using anti-Catholic as a noun:
. . . in 1688, anti-Catholics in and around Maryland . . . (p. 85)
Anti-Catholic memories were long and hatreds were deep . . . anti-Catholics in America conveniently portrayed the church as a juggernaut poised to crush the United States . . . the editor of the Protestant Home Missionary picked up the cry for the West, where was to be fought a great battle "between truth and error, between law and anarchy -- between Christianity . . . and the combined forces of Infidelity and Popery" . . . Samuel F.B. Morse, both the inventor of the telegraph and the noisiest anti-Catholic around . . . (p. 273)
(Martin Marty [widely-respected Protestant Church historian, University of Chicago], Pilgrims in Their Own Land: 500 Years of Religion in America, New York: Penguin Books, 1984)
Bigotry, especially by anti-Catholics, has been so common that any criticism of Catholicism is likely to be labeled by intellectuals as well as by pro-Catholics as intolerant and unfair . . . (p. 300)
Many anti-Catholics are convinced that long-range plans of the Catholic Church include repeal of the First Amendment . . . (p. 304) The Protestant Irish from Ulster were among the most fervent anti-Catholics a century ago. (p. 312)
Christian controversy with science has not involved Catholics alone, as anti-Catholics sometimes imply. (p. 331)
(David O. Moberg [professor of sociology at Marquette University], The Church as a Social Institution: The Sociology of American Religion, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2nd ed., 1984)

Catholic historian James Hitchcock wrote an article in Touchstone Magazine: July/August 2000:, entitled "The Real Anti-Catholics".

Christian Research Institute, founded by Protestant anti-cult researcher Dr. Walter Martin; review of Karl Keating's Catholicism and Fundamentalism, in the Christian Research Journal, by Kenneth R. Samples (current President of CRI is Hank Hanegraaff, the "Bible Answer Man"):
How should evangelicals view Roman Catholicism? This is an extremely controversial question, and often emotionally charged. The spectrum of opinion among conservative Protestants generally ranges from those who see the Catholic church as foundationally Christian (but with many doctrinal deviations), to those who dismiss Catholicism outright as an inherently evil institution. It would seem, however, that those of the latter persuasion ("anti-Catholics") are in the ascendancy. . . .
An additional criticism is that the book does not always distinguish carefully enough between anti-Catholics and those who are merely critical of Catholic doctrine. If this distinction is not made, then all Protestants become anti-Catholic. By the same reasoning, all Catholics become anti-Protestant. In Keating's defense, however, I do believe he normally makes this distinction . . .
If we do a Google Advanced Book Search for anti-Catholics (since the plural form can only be a noun), we find many dozens more examples, including such use by historian Denis G. Paz, in a book published by Stanford University Press, Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman in his famous work, The Idea of a University, in the Catholic Encyclopedia, again by historian Martin Marty, apologist Bertrand Conway, in his bestseller, The Question Box, an article in The English Historical Review, by Chesterton, Cardinal Wiseman, historian George McKenna in a book published by Yale University Press, and many others.

I'm not trying to do beat this topic to death, but since I have been so criticized by anti-Catholics themselves for my use of the term (whether as adjective or noun), I wanted to do a little research on this aspect as well.

Generally speaking, I think the meanings and definitions of words are extremely important to any discussion. Again, since I am so often challenged in this regard, I have made another defense, that I think can stand up very well to scrutiny because I approached the topic from several angles.