Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Posts Tagged ‘saved’

Scripture: Jesus Gave the 12 Apostles & Their Successors Authority to Forgive Sins

Posted by Tony Listi on May 7, 2014

“Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?‘ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them…’For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise and walk?” But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’–he then said to the paralytic–‘Rise, take up your bed and go home.’ And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” Mark 2:6-8/Matthew 9:5-8/Luke 5:24

 

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them…. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples….” Matthew 28:16, 18-19

 

“Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.” John 20:20-24

 

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the Church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:16-18

 

“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” James 5:14-16

 

 

 

And this authority of the apostolic office (including to forgive sins) was passed on to others by the laying on of hands:

“‘Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry…. For it is written in the book of Psalms, “Let his habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it;” and “His office let another take.” So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us–one of these men must be ordained a witness with us to his resurrection.’ And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, ‘Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.’ And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:16-26

 

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise your youth…. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you.” 1 Tim 4:14

 

“Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.” 2 Tim 1:6

 

“Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” Titus 2:15

 

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints.” Col 1:24-26

 

“If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task.” 1 Tim 3:1

 

“This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you….” Titus 1:5

Advertisements

Posted in Biblical Exegesis, Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Religion and Theology, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Augustine on Suffering in Purgatory

Posted by Tony Listi on October 15, 2012

I shall emphasize those places where Augustine specifically indicates temporary suffering for Christian believers after death:

“[T]hough she [the Church] prays even for the wicked so long as they live, she yet does not even in this world pray for the unbelieving and godless who are dead. For some of the dead, indeed, the prayer of the Church or of pious individuals is heard; but it is for THOSE WHO, HAVING BEEN REGENERATED BY CHRIST, did not spend their life so wickedly that they can be judged unworthy of such compassion, nor so well that they can be considered to have no need of it. As also, AFTER THE RESURRECTION, there will be some of the DEAD to whom, after they have endured the PAINS proper to the spirits of the DEAD, mercy shall be accorded, and acquittal from the punishment of the eternal fire. For were there not some whose sins, though not remitted in this life, shall be remitted in that which is to come, it could not be truly said, “They shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in that which is to come’ (Mt 12:32).” City of God, 21:24 (A.D. 426).

“For one who cultivates this field interiorly and gains his bread, albeit with toil, can suffer this toil up to the end of his life, but after this life he need not suffer. The man who perhaps has not cultivated the land and has allowed it to be overrun with brambles has in this life the curse of his land on all his works, and AFTER THIS LIFE he will have either PURGATORIAL FIRE or eternal punishment. Thus NO ONE escapes this sentence [curse of toil and suffering], but we should act so that we feel its punishment only in this life.” Genesis Defended Against the Manicheans, 2, 20, 30

“The prophet Malachi…predicts the last judgment, saying, ‘Behold, He comes, says the Lord Almighty; and who shall abide the day of His entrance? . . . for I am the Lord your God, and I change not.” From these words it more evidently appears that SOME SHALL IN THE LAST JUDGMENT SUFFER SOME KIND OF PURGATORIAL PUNISHMENTS; for what else can be understood by the word, ‘Who shall abide the day of His entrance, or who shall be able to look upon Him? For He enters as a moulder’s fire, and as the herb of fullers: and He shall sit fusing and purifying as if over gold and silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and pour them out like gold and silver?’ Similarly Isaiah says, ‘The Lord shall wash the filthiness of the sons and daughters of Zion, and shall cleanse away the blood from their midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning’ (Isaiah 4:4). Unless perhaps we should say that they are cleansed from filthiness and in a manner clarified, when the wicked are separated from them by penal judgment, so that the elimination and damnation of the one party is the purgation of the others, because they shall henceforth live free from the contamination of such men. But when he says, ‘And he shall purify the sons of Levi, and pour them out like gold and silver, and they shall offer to the Lord sacrifices in righteousness; and the sacrifices of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasing to the Lord,; he declares that those who shall be purified shall then please the Lord with sacrifices of righteousness, and consequently they themselves shall be PURIFIED FROM THEIR OWN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS which made them displeasing to God. Now they themselves, when they have been purified, shall be sacrifices of complete and perfect righteousness; for what more acceptable offering can such persons make to God than themselves? But this question of purgatorial punishments we must defer to another time, to give it a more adequate treatment. By the sons of Levi and Judah and Jerusalem we ought to understand THE CHURCH herself, gathered not from the Hebrews only, but from other nations as well; nor such a Church as she now is, when ‘if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us’ (1 John 1:8), but as she shall then be, PURGED BY THE LAST JUDGMENT as a threshing-floor by a winnowing wind, and those of her members who need it being CLEANSED BY FIRE….” City of God, 20:25, “Of Malachi’s Prophecy, in Which He Speaks of the Last Judgment, and of a Cleansing Which Some are to Undergo by Purifying Punishments” (A.D. 426)

“…will any man say this time of faith can be placed on an equal footing with that consummation when they who offer sacrifices in righteousness shall be PURIFIED BY THE FIRE OF THE LAST JUDGMENT? And consequently, since it must be believed that AFTER SUCH A CLEANSING THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL RETAIN NO SIN, assuredly that time, so far as regards its freedom from sin, can be compared to no other period, unless to that during which our first parents lived in paradise in the most innocent happiness before their transgression…. For the animals selected as victims under the old law were required to be immaculate, and free from all blemish whatever, and symbolized holy men free from all sin, the only instance of which character was found in Christ. As, therefore, AFTER THE JUDGMENT THOSE WHO ARE WORTHY OF SUCH PURIFICATION SHALL BE PURIFIED EVEN BY FIRE, and shall be rendered thoroughly sinless, and shall offer themselves to God in righteousness, and be indeed victims immaculate and free from all blemish whatever…. Then, with reference to those who are worthy not of cleansing but of damnation….” City of God, 20:26 (A.D. 426)

“But TEMPORARY PUNISHMENTS are suffered by some in this life only, by others AFTER DEATH, by others both now and then; but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But of those who suffer TEMPORARY PUNISHMENTS AFTER DEATH, all are not doomed to those everlasting pains which are to follow that judgment; for to some, as we have already said, what is not remitted in this world is remitted in the next, that is, they are not punished with the eternal punishment of the world to come.” City of God, 21:13 (A.D. 426)

“We shall then ascertain who it is who can be saved by fire (1 Cor 3:15), if we first discover what it is to have Christ for a foundation…. Whoever, then, has Christ in his heart, so that no earthly or temporal things— not even those that are legitimate and allowed— are preferred to Him, has Christ as a foundation. But if these things be preferred, then even though a man seem to have faith in Christ, yet Christ is not the foundation to that man; and much more if he, in contempt of wholesome precepts, seek forbidden gratifications, is he clearly convicted of putting Christ not first but last, since he has despised Him as his ruler, and has preferred to fulfill his own wicked lusts, in contempt of Christ’s commands and allowances….. For so long as he does not prefer such an affection or pleasure to Christ, CHRIST IS HIS FOUNDATION, though on it he builds wood, hay, stubble; and therefore he shall be saved as by fire. For the FIRE OF AFFLICTION shall burn such luxurious pleasures and earthly loves, though they be not damnable, because enjoyed in lawful wedlock. And of this fire the fuel is BEREAVEMENT, and all those CALAMITIES which consume these joys. Consequently the superstructure will be LOSS to him who has built it, for he shall not retain it, but shall be AGONIZED BY THE LOSS of those things in the enjoyment of which he found pleasure. But by this fire he shall be saved through virtue of the foundation, because even if a persecutor demanded whether he would retain Christ or these things, he would prefer Christ…. But some of them it [fire at last judgment] so proves that it does not burn and consume the structure which is found to have been built by them on Christ as the foundation; while others of them it proves in another fashion, so as to burn what they have built up, and thus cause them to SUFFER LOSS, WHILE THEY THEMSELVES ARE SAVED because they have retained Christ, who was laid as their sure foundation, and have loved Him above all. But if they are saved, then certainly they shall stand at the right hand, and shall with the rest hear the sentence, ‘Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you;’ and not at the left hand, where those shall be who shall not be saved, and shall therefore hear the doom, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire.'” City of God, 21:26, “What It is to Have Christ for a Foundation, and Who They are to Whom Salvation as by Fire is Promised,” (A.D. 426)

“Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead are benefited by the piety of their living friends, who offer the sacrifice of the Mediator, or give alms in the church on their behalf. But these services are of advantage only to those who during their lives have earned such merit, that services of this kind can help them. For there is a manner of life which is neither so good as not to require these services after death, nor so bad that such services are of no avail after death; there is, on the other hand, a kind of life so good as not to require them; and again, one so bad that when life is over they render no help. Therefore, it is in this life that all the merit or demerit is acquired, which can either RELIEVE OR AGGRAVATE A MAN’S SUFFERINGS AFER THIS LIFE. No one, then, need hope that after he is dead he shall obtain merit with God which he has neglected to secure here. And accordingly it is plain that the services which the church celebrates for the dead are in no way opposed to the apostle’s words: ‘For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad;’ for the merit which renders such services as I speak of profitable to a man, is earned while he lives in the body. It is not to every one that these services are profitable. And why are they not profitable to all, except because of the different kinds of lives that men lead in the body? When, then, sacrifices either of the altar or of alms are offered on behalf of all the baptized dead, they are thank-offerings for the very good, they are propitiatory offerings for the not very bad, and in the case of the very bad, even though they do not assist the dead, they are a species of consolation to the living. And where they are profitable, their benefit consists either in obtaining a full remission of sins, or at least in making the condemnation more tolerable.” Enchiridion Ch. 110

Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Church Fathers, Religion and Theology, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

St. Irenaeus’ Confirmation All Catholic Doctrines (2nd c. AD)

Posted by Tony Listi on May 23, 2010

St. Irenaeus (b. ca. 115-142), in his Against Heresies, confirms almost every core Catholic doctrine: Roman/papal supremacy, the sacrifice of the Mass, transubstantiation in the Eucharist, the continuation of the earthly priesthood, the crucial mission and authority of the institutional Church, Church authority over Scriptural interpretations, the existence and authority of unchangeable and unbroken apostolic Tradition and succession through bishops, the necessity of obedience (as well as repentance and forgiveness) for salvation, denunciations of schismatics, Mary as the new Eve and as a cause of our salvation, prayers for the dead, the activity of the saints, etc.

Moreover, his work is filled with citations of Scripture.

He begins the work by acknowledging the plausibility of the heresies:

Inasmuch as certain men have set the truth aside, and bring in lying words and vain genealogies, which, as the apostle says, “minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith,” and by means of their craftily-constructed plausibilities draw away the minds of the inexperienced and take them captive, [I have felt constrained, my dear friend, to compose the following treatise in order to expose and counteract their machinations.] These men falsify the oracles of God, and prove themselves evil interpreters of the good word of revelation…. By means of specious and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge; and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth.

How do these heretics rationalize their heresy? Like all heretics, they use Scripture and claim superior understanding or mystical assistance in its interpretation:

They tell us, however, that this knowledge has not been openly divulged, because all are not capable of receiving it, but has been mystically revealed by the Saviour through means of parables to those qualified for understanding it.

Protestants have all these “experts” in exegesis for rationalizing their interpretations. When “reason” fails (as it always does, for there are endless plausible interpretations in isolation from Church tradition/history), the mystical and arbitrary support of the “Holy Spirit” supplies certainty for them.

Such, then, is the account which they all give of their Pleroma, and of the formation of the universe, striving, as they do, to adapt the good words of revelation to their own wicked inventions. And it is not only from the writings of the evangelists and the apostles that they endeavour to derive proofs for their opinions by means of perverse interpretations and deceitful expositions: they deal in the same way with the law and the prophets, which contain many parables and allegories that can frequently be drawn into various senses, according to the kind of exegesis to which they are subjected. And others of them, with great craftiness, adapted such parts of Scripture to their own figments, lead away captive from the truth those who do not retain a steadfast faith in one God, the Father Almighty, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Heretics by no means avoid or flee from Scripture. They are eager to make Scripture fit within their preconceived, dogmatic, heretical theology and worldview. And it’s easily done by those of creative imagination and “craftiness.” For Scripture passages “can frequently be drawn into various senses, according to the kind of exegesis to which they are subjected.”

How does St. Irenaeus know with certainty that the doctrines in question are heresy? He tells us the apostles did not “deliver” such doctrines to the Church:

Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures; and, to use a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they endeavour to adapt with an air of probability to their own peculiar assertions the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and the words of the apostles, in order that their scheme may not seem altogether without support. In doing so, however, they disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures, and so far as in them lies, dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked art in adapting the oracles of the Lord to their opinions…. In like manner do these persons patch together old wives’ fables, and then endeavour, by violently drawing away from their proper connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found, to adapt the oracles of God to their baseless fictions.

All heretics know they have to find support within Scripture, otherwise they would have no support whatsoever for their errors and/or lies, for the authority and unchanging tradition of the Church always stand firmly against them.

Irenaeus condemns the heretics and offers a conclusive coup de grace which proves they are heretics:

You see, my friend, the method which these men employ to deceive themselves, while they abuse the Scriptures by endeavouring to support their own system out of them. For this reason, I have brought forward their modes of expressing themselves, that thus you might understand the deceitfulness of their procedure, and the wickedness of their error….

But since what may prove a finishing-stroke to this exhibition is wanting, so that any one, on following out their farce to the end, may then at once append an argument which shall overthrow it, we have judged it well to point out, first of all, in what respects the very fathers of this fable differ among themselves, as if they were inspired by different spirits of error. For this very fact forms an a priori proof that the truth proclaimed by the Church is immoveable, and that the theories of these men are but a tissue of falsehoods.

The clearest indication that a certain denomination is heretical is that their leaders keep dividing and schisming among themselves. At first there was only Luther; then came Calvin, Zwingli, and a horde of others. Now there are innumerable heretical sects that have sprung from the seed of Luther’s Revolution. There are now many different synods or conventions within mainstream Protestant lines. In many cases, Christianity has been degraded into a private, individual religion, cut off from any resemblance to the original apostolic faith that proclaims the true Church is of one Mind and one Body.

So how is the Christian to know which exegesis of and approach to Scripture is correct? Irenaus tells us that Holy Tradition, handed down unchanged historically from the apostles and universally throughout the world, is our assurance:

The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: … [Irenaeus gives a creed]

…but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory. 

The true faith is received from the Church, not mystically or rationally divined from Scripture by individual believers. Notice also that immortality and salvation are given to those who are obedient to God’s commandments, which is perseverance in His love. “Faith alone” in some purely abstract/mental sense is not enough.

As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.

Truth does not change. The Christian faith could not change in the 2nd century AD. It was already complete and perfect. Moreover, the true Church preserves the faith in its purity and hands it on, nothing more or less. Thus any later deviations from the Holy Tradition of the Church are by definition heretical, including the man-made traditions of the Protestant Revolution which popped into existence in the 16th century.

It does not follow because men are endowed with greater and less degrees of intelligence, that they should therefore change the subject-matter [of the faith] itself, and should conceive of some other God besides Him who is the Framer, Maker, and Preserver of this universe, (as if He were not sufficient for them), or of another Christ, or another Only-begotten. But the fact referred to simply implies this, that one may [more accurately than another] bring out the meaning of those things which have been spoken in parables, and accommodate them to the general scheme of the faith….

God never intended for individual intelligence or reason in and of itself to determine doctrine authoritatively, not to mention change it.

…as these teachers who are destitute of truly divine wisdom maintain; while the Catholic Church possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world, as we have already said.

It is the catholic, the universal, Church that possesses the true faith.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Church Fathers, Church History, Religion and Theology, The Papacy, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

When was St. Paul the Apostle Saved? (Phil 3:11-14)

Posted by Tony Listi on December 5, 2007

Rather than tackling sola fide in its entirety, perhaps it would be best to narrow our focus and ask pointed Biblical questions that may shed light on this Protestant doctrine and that allow little opportunity or wiggle room for irrelevant tangents. To be as accomodating as possible, I will even use the same Protestant phrasing and presumption in my question: When was Paul saved? I will use only Scripture to explore this question.

According to Protestantism, Paul, then Saul at the time, was saved “on the road to Damascus” (Acts 9). I mean, how can you not believe that Jesus is Lord, God, and Savior when he literally knocks you to the ground, condemns you with his own audible voice, blinds you, and then commands you to do something? But even if one doesn’t want to make this safe assumption, the Protestant must say that Paul was saved, at the very latest, when he was baptized or first preached that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 9:20).

But interestingly, Paul himself disagrees with this account of his own salvation and thus casts doubt on all of Protestant salvation theology (soteriology). This is evident from the following verse which was written after the Damascus experience:

Philippians 3:11-14 “…that IF possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. NOT that I have ALREADY OBTAINED this or am already perfect; but I strive to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do NOT consider that I have made it my own… I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus…. continue on the same course.” (emphasis mine)

Is there any need to quote other verses? Is it not clear that he is NOT 100% certain that he will be resurrected from the dead? Is it not clear, therefore, that even Paul, the author of at least half of the entire New Testament of Holy Inspired Scripture, an apostle chosen by Christ himself, is NOT 100% certain that he is saved?  Surely we cannot doubt his faith, can we?

Morover, do not words like “strive,” “press on,” and “continue on the same course” demonstrate that salvation happens as a process and struggle, not at a single moment in time that requires no effort afterwards to secure?

So seriously, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, if someone like St. Paul was not assured of his own salvation, how can you be?

I thank you in advance for you generosity and charity in answering my many questions.

Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Religion and Theology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »