welby-crozier
Church of England

With the gift of a crozier, Pope Francis recognises and affirms the episcopal jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury

You can read too much into a symbol, especially if it signifies a deep spiritual longing or portends some prophetic fulfilment. What to one person is just the rain, to another becomes life-giving water. Bread can be flour and yeast, or life and salvation. Wine is wine, or it is blood. In the half-light between visions and dreams lie centuries of mystics and religious nutters separated by the faith of their followers or the discernment of their deniers. Whether you believe or not is a question of whether you have eyes to see and ears to hear. Let the reader understand.

The Archbishop of Canterbury visited Pope Francis last week to commemorate 50 years of ecumenical endeavour between the churches of England and Rome. Together they commissioned 19 pairs of Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops (all male) to return to their home countries and work together, pray together and proclaim the Gospel of Christ together. As has become customary since 1966, the Pope and Archbishop exchanged gifts: Justin Welby gave Pope Francis his pectoral Cross of Nails, symbolising reconciliation, and Pope Francis gave Archbishop Justin a crozier, symbolising episcopal jurisdiction.

And it wasn’t just any old crozier: it was a design based on the pastoral staff given by Pope St Gregory the Great to St Augustine. A Roman pontiff has not given a crozier to an archbishop of Canterbury since the Reformation (at least), or (more likely) since Pope Gregory consecrated Augustine in 597. The Apostle to the English and founder of the church in England was a Benedictine prior. The senior Archbishop to the English and leader of the Church of England is a Benedictine abbot. Both hearts beat for peace, prayer and work, as St Benedict would exhort.

“Let the message go out from this holy place, as the good news was sent out so many centuries ago, that Catholics and Anglicans will work together to give voice to our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring relief to the suffering, to bring peace where there is conflict, to bring dignity where it is denied and trampled upon,” Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin said in their Common Declaration.

The vespers service (in Latin and English) was celebrated at Rome’s Church of St Gregory on the Caelian Hill, whence Pope Gregory sent Augustine to evangelise the English in 597. By gifting a crozier, Pope Francis sends Justin back to England to continue the work Augustine began. Unfortunately, he said, over the course of history, “we have lost sight of the brother who was alongside us, we have become incapable of recognizing him and of rejoicing over the gifts and grace we each have received”. And he urged his fellow Roman Catholics around the world to ask, before undertaking any activity, “Why can’t we do this with our Anglican brothers and sisters? Can we witness to Jesus working together with our Catholic brothers and sisters?”

So Anglican priests are priests equal with those of Rome; not laymen masquerading as prelates? Her sacraments are real? Her salvation assured?

The Pope noted that the crozier has a crook for gathering on one end, and a point on the other “to prod those who tend to stay too close and closed, exhorting them to go out”. But the Archbishop needed no gathering or prodding. In his address, he said, “When we fight among ourselves as Christians, when we lose the obligation of sharing mercy and forgiveness, we not only disobey the explicit prayer and command of our Lord, but also we become shepherds who devour the sheep, the church becomes a circus for gladiatorial combat in which the losers are shown no mercy.”

They acknowledged “serious obstacles” remain on the road to unity, and the referred specifically to the ordination (and episcopacy) of women, and now questions regarding human sexuality. “Behind these differences lies a perennial question about how authority is exercised in the Christian community,” they added, without touching on the universal role and infallibility of the Pope himself, which really precedes secondary issues like gender and sexuality. “The real questions to be confronted are to do with scripture, Magisterium and tradition,” writes moral theologian Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith in the Catholic Herald. And he’s right, of course. How can there be unity when the Church of Rome considers Anglican orders to be “absolutely null and utterly void”? How can there be unity when the Church of England considers that: “The Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith”?

The Pope and Archbishop may declare, “we are undeterred”, and they may be trusting in the Holy Spirit that “dialogue and engagement with one another will deepen our understanding and help us to discern the mind of Christ for his church”. But it needs a bit of wrestling with the ultimate source of spiritual authority, the sufficiency of Scripture, and the efficacy and finality of Jesus’s work on the cross. Certainly, bishops can pray and work together as brothers (not sisters – a decision which, in itself, speaks volumes) by reason of their common baptism. And they can preach of justice and exhort mercy and defend the dignity of all people. But.. but..

When it comes to visible unity, the “imperfect communion” is sustained by centuries of dogma. Since neither the Bishop of Rome nor the Archbishop of Canterbury has the authority to change that, they are left with praxis, parables and symbols. Rome’s official line is that Justin Welby is a layman; he is no more a bishop than Theresa May. blessing-pope-francisAnd yet this Pope bows before him to receive a blessing, and gifts him a bishop’s crozier. By receiving that blessing, the Pope affirms the validity of +Justin’s ordination according to the Anglican rite. How otherwise may he bestow a blessing? By accepting that crozier, the Archbishop acknowledges the authority of the Pope to consecrate and bestow the episcopal ministry. The act is magisterial.

Of course, the crozier is a replica and a gift. It makes a nice photo-op. The fact that it is fake, and that the Archbishop is constrained by common courtesy to accept it, may satisfy robust Roman Catholics and placate staunch Protestants who may have concerns that either is selling out their respective traditions. After all, the Pope is not the Church of Rome, and the Archbishop is not the Church of England: they are just two flawed and fallible men. And yet these two men by their symbolic actions speak louder than all motu proprios, encyclicals, pastoral decisions and ARCIC-inspired common declarations in the world. People look and see far more than they read and understand. It is how Francis and Justin act toward each other and what they do as bishops which teaches their flocks how to act and guides them in what to do. And they have determined that their ministries are founded upon love, mercy, peace and reconciliation. By magisterial act of consecration, the gift of a crozier qualifies or nullifies Apostolicae Curae: the Lord has set Justin apart for a mission, in apostolic succession, with solemn, historical title and valid holy orders. Or, if you prefer, it signifies nothing. Do you have eyes but fail to see?

  • Royinsouthwest

    Sorry to quibble about one point but while it is true Pope Gregory sent Augustine to evangelise the English how can St Augustine be described as “the (not “an”) Apostle to the English and founder of the church in England” when the Celtic church was already carrying out evangelistic activity among the Anglo-Saxons?

    • Darter Noster

      Indeed. St Augustine may have been Apostle to the Southern Jessies but in the north we had Aidan and Cuthbert, thank you very much.

      • Old Nick

        Insuper, three Christian bishops from Britain attended the Council of Arles in 314 and they had lineal descendants in 6th/7th century England. Bede’s dismissal of British (as opposed to Irish) Christianity and his endorsement of the arrogant attitude adopted towards its bishops by S. Augustine of Canterbury is one of the few flaws in that admirable historian.

        • Translation: he’s “admirable” when one is in agreement with him.

          • Old Nick

            I do not read Bede in a translation, thank you. His failure to provide evidence about the British Church leaves us with one of the biggest gaps in the immediately post-Roman history of the British Isles. It is clear from his preface that he had to scrape the barrel to get reliable sources, and that he was very reliant in any case on what people sent him (e.g. a big pile of not very helpful papal letters from Canterbury, precious little from western Wessex and so on), and presumably he had few contacts in the British Church (as opposed to the Irish church and its Northumbrian offshoots). If only we had more reliable evidence about the Cornish saints or S. David, or even S. Alban. Or that Gildas were a bit more informative and a bit less like Eeyore crossed with Jeremiah. There was clearly a strong element of continuity with the Church of the 3rd/ 4th century.

      • Actually you’ve overlooked Saint Ninian.

        • Old Nick

          More to the point would be S. Patrick, who was brought up as a Christian “somewhere in Britain”, presumably on a coast as he was carried off by Irish pirates.. All we know about Ninian comes from a single page of Bede (and the excavations at Whithorn I suppose), and the tip of Galloway is hardly the heart of Britain.

          • Saint Ninian predated Saint Patrick. The tradition is his ministry started in 397 and was extensive covering the Scottish Lowlands across to Northumbria.

          • Old Nick

            By ‘the tradition’ I assume you mean Wikipedia or the tendentious and not always accurate Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1907-13 (from which many Wikipedia entries on such topics are ultimately derived).
            The fact is that everything we know about Ninian comes from half a page of Bede HE III,4 – to be precise page 133 of Plummer’s edition (I have not got Colgrave and Mynors at hand). Bede himself was not sure of the facts about S. Ninian – when he says “ut perhibent” or “fertur” it means he thinks it worth mentioning, but is not prepared to assert a matter unequivocally. Here he says “ut perhibent”. All Bede says about Ninian’s date is “multo ante tempore”. We may deduce from the fact that the church Ad Candidam Casam (assumed to be Whithorn) was dedicated to S. Martin (like the British church at Canterbury which is still a C of E parish church) that he post-dated 397, the date of S. Martin’s death.
            By how much he post-dated it is by no means clear. All one can say about the dates of S. Patrick is “sometime in the 5th century”.

    • Anton

      As I recall, it wasn’t. The Celts hated the Anglo-Saxon invaders. I think there’s something in Bede about this (I’m not at home just now).

      • preacher

        The actual date that Christianity was established in Britain is unknown, the earliest was probably in Roman times, when individual members of the Roman army who were not priests or Bishops, but ordinary soldiers who had accepted Christ & were sent to colonise the pagan hordes that ran the country & settle outposts here.
        The Celtic Church was established by itinerant monks who set up communities among the people & provided education, medical skills & sustenance. It was well established before the synod of Whitby.

        • Old Nick

          There is stacks of evidence for Christianity in Roman Britain. Three British bishops attended the Council of Arles in 314. There is the Water Newton Silver, the Lullingstone paintings, the Hinton S. Mary mosaic – from a smart villa, not itinierant monks (not well displayed when I last saw it at the BM) and much else. And there is evidence of continuity, e.g. in the martyr cult of S. Alban from Constantius of Lyons’s Life of S. Germanus of Auxerre (though the martyr passions themselves are not worth much), Gildas and so on.

        • Anton

          I know that. What I am suggesting is that the celtic Christians did not try to evangelise the Anglo-Saxons, perhaps because they were a political enemy (invaders). I’m now certain that Bede said something about that, but I’ve not checked where.

  • IanCad

    What a superb post YG; if indeed, I am fit to judge such an endeavour. To pick out your first paragraph as being the high place of the editorial, risks giving the perception that what follows is of lesser merit. Not so! The whole is an insightful testimony to the consistency of the Church of Rome.

    As all those many years ago Augustine was sent to these shores to cleave the Apostolic, disorganised Christian Church, to the yoke of Rome, so too today, in his gift to the AofC, does Pope Francis signify that the goal of the Papacy is to bind all under its authority.

    Some things never change.

    • Martin

      Ian

      One ring to bind them all?

      • Jack notes you’ve completely missed the point of Lord of the Rings ….

        • Dominic Stockford

          He hasn’t, he really hasn’t.

        • Martin

          HJ

          You didn’t realise Sauron is the pope?

          • Pubcrawler

            You do know Tolkien was a Catholic, right?

          • Martin

            PC

            Of course.

          • Anton

            Tolkien insisted that The Lord of the Rings was not allegory, but in a letter he called it a fundamentally Catholic work in which “the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.” It is fun to tease these out. A! Elbereth Gilthoniel clearly echoes the ‘Hail Mary,’ while the release from unrest of the Army of the Dead, who had broken their oath on earth, echoes Tolkien’s Catholic belief in Purgatory. Lembas bread is manna or perhaps the Catholic ‘blessed sacrament.’ Gandalf is in effect crucified and falls to the innermost depths of the earth before being resurrected in white. Aragorn, like Christ, appears first to the world as a man of lowly rank with a mission against evil, but the reader finally comes to see him as the king of men. There are plenty more.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Rather demonstrates how pagan Rome is.

          • Anton

            Rome’s Christology and Trinitarianism are perfectly good. It is certain of its accretions and practices that give cause for concern. When I critique those things, I prefer to contrast the scriptures against them directly, rather than involve what is essentially a grand work of fiction by JRRT.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Unfortunately their soteriology is what is primarily in error, a rather critical error.

    • The mission of the Papacy is to lead all Christians into the truth of Christ and to guarantee unity of faith and belief through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to the bishops of the world.

      • len

        The mission of the Papacy is to try and deceive those who are genuinely seek Gods truth into bondage unto the RCC. That’s it plain and simple…

        • It’s certainly an ignorant and foolish observation.

          • len

            Centuries of history and bible prophecy say different Jack

  • Inspector General

    Ah, yes. The sinister ‘parting gift’. Welby presented the Pope with a paperweight, a bone of St Terence of Higgins encased in plastic (lovingly provided by his cursed Synod for the occasion). The Pontiff delivered unto the Archbishop a beautiful crozier, with the message ‘Come Home To Rome’ inscribed. Later that day, the paperweight went flying out of a papal window, and on the flight home, Welby placed the crozier across a knee and snapped it in half. Ecumenical union assured.

  • len

    ‘The crozier has a crook at one end.’…Lol but which end depends on your point of view…

    • David

      Quite !

    • What’s all this nonsense?

      Roman Catholics do believe Jesus is the Head of the Church. The Pope is the unifying leader of all Christendom – the visible head of all Christians who has inherited Peter’s primacy through Apostolic succession. There are three requisites for full membership in the Church: 1) Baptism; 2) Profession of the same faith; and 3) Acceptance of the headship of the bishop of Rome.

      ” … all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body”

      “At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. He therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and established a covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people. . . . All these things, however, happened as a preparation for and figure of that new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Christ . . . the New Covenant in his blood; he called together a race made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be one, not according to the flesh, but in the Spirit.”

      The People of God is marked by characteristics that clearly distinguish it from all other religious, ethnic, political, or cultural groups found in history:

      – It is the People of God: God is not the property of any one people. But he acquired a people for himself from those who previously were not a people: “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”

      – One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being “born anew,” a birth “of water and the Spirit,” that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism.

      This People has for its Head Jesus the Christ (the anointed, the Messiah). Because the same anointing, the Holy Spirit, flows from the head into the body, this is “the messianic people.”

      – “The status of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple.”

      – “Its law is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us.” This is the “new” law of the Holy Spirit.

      – Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world. This people is “a most sure seed of unity, hope, and salvation for the whole human race.”

      – Its destiny, finally, “is the Kingdom of God which has been begun by God himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought to perfection by him at the end of time.”
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

      • len

        Started well jack(first sentence anyway) then went into religious jibberish.

        • Ever though about taking up evening classes? English comprehension lessons, for example.

          • len

            Got Gods Word, all I need to discern truth..

      • Martin

        HJ

        No quote from the Bible?

        • Go to the original source document.

          http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p2.htm

          You’ll find plenty.

          Acts 10:35;
          1 Cor 11:25.
          1 Pet 2:9.
          Jn 3:3-5.
          Jn 13:34
          Rom 8:2; Gal 5:25.
          Mt 5:13-16.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The Vatican is well known for having used forgeries to support its claims.

            but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:35 [ESV])

            They are those who are saved.

            In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. (I Corinthians 11:25 [ESV])

            An act of remembrance only. Jesus also spok of his being a door, is Jesus really a physical door?

            But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
            (I Peter 2:9-10 [ESV])

            Proves that there can be no office of priest in the Christian Church because all Christians are priests.

            Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
            (John 3:3-5 [ESV])

            Clearly Jesus is not speaking of water baptism but of a spiritual change that occurs, of which water baptism is a symbol.

            For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2 [ESV])

            Those who are saved can never lose their salvation.

            You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

            You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
            (Matthew 5:13-16 [ESV])

            The church of Rome long ago lost its savour.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            …is Jesus really a physical door?

            Most Atheists I know would say he was unhinged.

          • Martin

            OMF

            Atheists are unhinged.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            You think so? Most Atheists I know seem perfectly sane to me. They have no experience of God and can’t feel his presence, but then neither can I most of the time.

            Atheists aren’t unhinged. They just haven’t heard the call of something greater than them within themselves. Give them time and space and they’ll end up hearing it. Go around insulting them by calling them unhinged and you just make it harder for them to hear anything. The voice inside will be drowned out by anger and contempt for you and your demand that they listen to something they just can’t detect.

            If you need to assuage your own anger at being dismissed by Atheists as a mad Christian, then rather than hurling insults at them, try to look at it from their point of view. There you are telling them to bow down to something they can’t feel or sense in any way. Of course they think you’re bonkers! You are, on their terms. So am I.

            I’m OK with that because it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of me. If an Atheist tells me I’m bonkers, I just smile and move on. I can do him no good by arguing with him because you can’t make someone hear God. You can pray for him. But if you pray at him, you’ll just make matters worse.

            And who knows, maybe they can’t hear God because he’s just not talking to them? Maybe he’s ignoring them because he knows there’s no point in wasting his time. If so, it’s highly unlikely you’ll succeed where he has not. Unless you think you can do better than God, of course.

          • Martin

            OMF

            I’d say that pretending the God you know exist doesn’t exist was pretty unhinged, wouldn’t you? I am afraid they simply will not accept God’s call and deliberately deny it exists.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Ah, I see. You think Atheists know that God exists but are just denying it.

            I don’t agree. The Atheists I know have no idea who or what God is. He has never spoken to them, or if he has, they don’t recognise his voice as being something distinct and apart from their own subconscious.

            To say they’re ignoring God is therefore not strictly accurate. It’s like one of those pictures that you can stare at for hours and not realise that a second and different image is hidden within it. Only by adjusting your focus can you detect more information. And if you don’t know how to do that, there might as well be nothing there.

            It isn’t ill will. It’s lack of know how. And when we start telling them they’re doing it on purpose, that’s when they look at us if we’re mad.

            How do you describe a colour to a blind person? Do you berate him for being blind? If you’re the only sighted person he knows, won’t he think you’re making it all up? Can you prove to him that red is red and green is green? How exactly?

          • Martin

            OMF

            I know that we all know God exists and, by nature, pretend He does not.

            For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
            (Romans 1:18-23 [ESV])

      • Anton

        There are three requisites for full membership in the Church: 1) Baptism; 2) Profession of the same faith; and 3) Acceptance of the headship of the bishop of Rome.

        That’s rather odd, because I am a full member of the church yet do not accept the headship of the Bishop of Rome.

        • Then, by definition, you are not a full member of the Church.

          • Anton

            By your definition, perhaps?

  • David

    Let us not forget that Christianity was first established in these islands by Celtic Irish monks whose faith was imported, first to Scotland, and then to northern England. Although our knowledge of Celtic Christianity is sketchy, from what we do know, it would have represented a far earthier, closer to the people and less hierarchical form of the faith, which I would have preferred to the topdown Roman and rather legalistic variety.

    So for me, the greatest mistake that this nation of England ever made was at the Synod of Whitby, in the seventh century, when it was decided to follow the Roman system and not the Celtic one. Over the succeeding decades the Roman model was imposed on everyone. From then on began our island’s long struggle against the bossy forms of government preferred on the continent of Europe. So many of our woes and victories followed on from that fateful decision at Whitby.

    Whilst I am very keen for all believers in Christ to cooperate, as we share so much, I do not want the top down Roman method of governance gaining ground here. No thank you.

    What I do encourage and support is a growing sense of fellowship with the vibrant, conservative Churches of the global south, established by missionaries sent from those shores to bring Christ’s light to the pagans of the those continents. Now their faithful example is an inspiration to us here, as we struggle to hold aloft the unchanging truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in an increasingly confused self-worshipping pagan secular country.

    • Royinsouthwest

      What about Wales?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Its wet.

    • Some claim it started at Glastonbury with Joseph of Arimathea. Others that Saint Peter visited these shores.

      • Anton

        Evidence please! You might as well believe that Those Feet, in ancient times, walked upon England’s mountains green…

        • Jack said: “some claim”. He is not one of them.

          • Anton

            Glad to hear it! I love history and I love good fiction, but those who believe these things confuse the two.

  • magnolia

    I can see that the lamb in the first crozier was somewhat strange looking, with an elongated body that needed tidying up. And so it has been. Trouble is it now resembles a goat more than a lamb to me. Lambs don’t have horns, for a start, or only very little ones, as they are youngsters. Is this just my perception, and if not does someone need to take a penknife to it? Any offers?

    • Looks like a ram to Jack. Stubborn creatures ….

      • magnolia

        As in “Behold the ram of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1.29 RCS version)?!

        Have to say rams look like barrels on legs or prop forwards; this still looks like a goat to me, especially with the prancing skittish foreleg, and what look like hooves…maybe its some weird joke of sorts from the woodcarver, or s.o who instructed him. Don’t know…

        • It’s a ram – possibly signifying the aging of the Christian flock since the time of St Augustine.

          • magnolia

            But that signification would show crass ignorance of the lamb and flag motif so how is it that the Pope does not have access in the Vatican city to a maker of ecclesiastical gear with basic knowledge of basic Christian symbology? How could a devout person have so misinterpreted the original apt Christian symbology and produced or sponsored instead this odd mishmash devoid of the fruits of the Spirit indicated by the Lamb of God- gentleness, kindness, obedience to the will of God, not stubborness, rapacity and force majeure? This should be central stuff.

            Curiouser and curiouser.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Curious or deliberate?

          • magnolia

            Ah well, that is the question………. And if deliberate, deliberate by whom and for what reason?

            At any rate the AB of C is well off the hook- through precisely these expressed questions and doubts- of ever actually having to use the thing with its implicit claim of the Pope sending him back to the UK to spread their version of the gospel, and imbued as it is with the centuries old aspirations of the Roman Church to rule the Anglican one.

  • Martin

    The problem isn’t with tradition but with authority. Christians have their authority in the Bible, God’s word. Rome’s authority is in it’s misnamed ‘church’ or rather the hierarchy which decrees what the Bible means, often in contradiction of the plain meaning.

    If Welby thinks tradition is important he hasn’t understood Christianity.

    • Albert

      the hierarchy which decrees what the Bible means, often in contradiction of the plain meaning.

      Bible: You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

      Catholic: You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

      Evangelical: You see that a man is justified by faith alone and not by faith and works.

      • Martin

        Albert

        The plain meaning of James is clearly that the works give a visibility of the faith:

        But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18 [ESV])

        not that works justify, since works are the result of salvation, not it cause:

        For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
        (Ephesians 2:8-10 [ESV])

        • Albert

          The plain meaning of James is clearly that the works give a visibility of the faith

          Absolutely right.

          not that works justify, since works are the result of salvation, not it cause:

          Absolutely wrong:

          Bible/Catholic: You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

          and

          What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
          Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

          For some reason you quote Ephesians 2, as if it settles the matter. But Ephesians 2 is perfectly consistent with the rest of the teaching of scripture/Catholicism, as I have repeatedly pointed out to you. The only way to make it inconsistent with Catholicism is to force it to say what it does not, and set it in opposition to other parts of scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Since no one can please God by their works apart from those who are saved, works cannot justify, for the works of the unsaved cannot please God:

            For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
            (Romans 8:7-8 [ESV])

            Again, James is speaking of showing our faith, not of being saved.

            But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18 [ESV])

            Romans 6 continues in a way that nullifies your claim:

            What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 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, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
            (Romans 6:15-19 [ESV]) emphasis mine.

            Of course Ephesians 2 is perfectly consistent with the rest of Scripture, which teaches that no one is justified by any works of their own.

          • Albert

            Since no one can please God by their works apart from those who are saved, works cannot justify, for the works of the unsaved cannot please God:
            For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
            (Romans 8:7-8 [ESV])

            He does not say those who are not saved, he says those who are in the flesh. Moreover, as we know, in the Bible being saved is a dynamic doctrine, not the static doctrine of evangelicalism.

            Again, James is speaking of showing our faith, not of being saved.
            But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18 [ESV])

            Why do you think that is not consistent with James 2.24. Surely it is obvious that the Catholic doctrine encompasses both statements, but that the evangelical doctrine encompasses only the first and excludes the latter?

            Again, with your quotation of Romans 6 in no way nullifies either my interpretation or the Catholic position. For he does not say obedient only in the heart, as evangelicalism would have it, but obedient from the heart – i.e. the centre of the whole person. For scripture also says: Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. So the heart is not to be abstracted from the person, but is the centre of that person. One who is obedient from the heart is obedient also in works.

            I never said that Ephesians 2 is not consistent with the rest of scripture, on the contrary, I said: But Ephesians 2 is perfectly consistent with the rest of the teaching of scripture/Catholicism, for you had previously, as you do here, set your interpretation of Ephesians 2 against the rest of scripture. For you claim that Scripture, which teaches that no one is justified by any works of their own, but scripture teaches exactly that: You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. Let’s put those sentences next to each other:

            Martin: Scripture teaches that no one is justified by any works of their own.
            Scripture: a man is justified by works and not by faith alone

            Is there anything scripture could say that could convince you that your human tradition on this is not that of scripture? It really seems not.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Those who are in the flesh are those who are unsaved, as against those who are in the Spirit:

            For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

            You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
            (Romans 8:7-9 [ESV])

            James 2:24 is consistent with James 2:18, James is speaking of showing our faith to others. You misuse James, ignoring 2:18.

            Presumably you didn’t notice the little word ‘but’ in Romans 6. It entirely nullifies your claim because the state you refer to no longer exists for the saved.

            I do not set Ephesians 2 against the rest of Scripture, the rest of Scripture agrees with it.

            Scripture is entirely in accordance with what I have said, it is your tradition that is not in accord with Scripture.

          • Albert

            Those who are in the flesh are those who are unsaved

            Obviously, those who in the flesh are unsaved, but it does not follow that those who are not in the flesh are saved in the Evangelical sense, since the Evangelical sense of “saved” is too narrow and is therefore not scriptural. One can be in a state of grace through faith, but still end up in hell.

            James is speaking of showing our faith to others.

            I’ve shown you before that that makes no sense of James’ use of the OT in this passage.

            You misuse James, ignoring 2:18.

            It must be obvious even to a child that 2.18 is entirely consistent with Catholic doctrine. If God works cannot be done without faith, then it follows that someone who does good works has faith. But it does not follow that they only show they have faith. It is entirely consistent with the doctrine that the works justify – as James says.

            Presumably you didn’t notice the little word ‘but’ in Romans 6. It entirely nullifies your claim because the state you refer to no longer exists for the saved.

            It doesn’t nullify it at all. It shows why it is that we are able to have the obedience that leads to righteousness.

            I do not set Ephesians 2 against the rest of Scripture, the rest of Scripture agrees with it.

            That is clearly not true.

            Scripture is entirely in accordance with what I have said, it is your tradition that is not in accord with Scripture.

            The Evanglical doctrine is falsified on most pages of the NT. I really cannot see how you have so much confidence in a doctrine which is (i) never taught explicitly in scripture (as opposed to the Catholic doctrine, I mean) and (ii) is so clearly contradicted all over scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Yes it does follow that those who are not in the flesh are saved. Once God saves a person all their sins are forgiven, they cannot go to Hell, they are righteous.

            You’ve shown me that you do not understand James. Works do not justify, God alone justifies.

            It seems you are the one who would set Ephesians 2 against Scripture.

            You have failed to show that your tradition has any basis in Scripture.

          • Albert

            Once God saves a person all their sins are forgiven, they cannot go to Hell, they are righteous.

            What is the biblical proof for this?

            You’ve shown me that you do not understand James. Works do not justify, God alone justifies.

            This shows you do not understand scripture: 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. Justification means God’s righteousness is infused by God into us, so that we do good works. Therefore, your view of Eph.2 is wrong and your tradition is plainly opposed to scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Had you forgotten:

            All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
            (John 6:37-40 [ESV])

            And this contradicts you:

            for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
            (Philippians 2:13 [ESV])

            It is God who works in us. Justification means that in God’s sight we are considered just, not that something is infused into us. Therefore we do good works and your view of Eph 2 is wrong, merely a tradition of men.

          • Albert

            Your entire post shows you have not understood a word of the Catholic position. Amazingly, you quote Philippians 2.13 against me, which is a key passage for the Catholic position. Take that passage by itself, and it is that Catholic position. We do not think we justify ourselves. We think that God justifies us, and that this means that, by his grace, we truly become righteous, that is, that God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. That is not consistent with righteousness being only imputed, for the righteousness there is clearly infused. We are not judged considered just, rather, we work and will for his good pleasure, i.e. we are just by his grace.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’m rejecting the ‘Catholic’ position. And it is hardly a worldwide position is it, just one taken by the followers of the church of Rome.

            I’m pointing out that it is God who works, not the believer. God saves, the sinner has nothing to contribute.

            But you don’t believe that by God’s grace men become righteous, in your view something else is needed, the works of men.

          • Albert

            To say that Catholic Church (and therefore position) is not worldwide, is curious.

            I’m pointing out that it is God who works, not the believer.

            Yes, but your previous post indicated you thought that if the believer is working then God’s grace is not working. Now if that were true, then I would be totally with you. But that is not in fact, the teaching of Phil.2.13 which is precisely that the believer is working because God is working – not me but Christ in me.

            But you don’t believe that by God’s grace men become righteous, in your view something else is needed, the works of men.

            Do you really believe that you are fairly attributing my views there? I must have said this point about 100 times to you in various situations: the works of men just are God working in us. If you do not accept that, then we do not become righteous.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The cult of the church of Rome may have adherents all over the world but that does not mean it is world wide.

            There is a difference in God working in and through the believer and the works of man are there not?

            And God, in saving the sinner, makes them righteous.

          • Albert

            The cult of the church of Rome may have adherents all over the world but that does not mean it is world wide.

            Yes it does – obviously.

            There is a difference in God working in and through the believer and the works of man are there not?

            If by the latter, you mean the works man does by himself without grace, then yes. If you don’t mean that, then I cannot see the difference.

            And God, in saving the sinner, makes them righteous.

            But the scriptural concepts are both are not static but dynamic. You need to be more precise in making your points, otherwise, you do not make a different point from the Catholic position, which I would have thought would trouble you.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No more than the Mormons or JWs are worldwide.

            If he has grace his sins are forgiven and he is saved.

            In being saved God is working in the sinner to make them like Christ but their final destination is assured. The process is not complete but the end is assured.

          • Albert

            No more than the Mormons or JWs are worldwide.

            Well then it is world wide in at least one sense.

            If he has grace his sins are forgiven and he is saved.

            No. Grace comes before conversion – in the first instance, so someone having grace is not necessarily repentant or saved.

            In being saved God is working in the sinner to make them like Christ but their final destination is assured. The process is not complete but the end is assured.

            That is too static to take in the full breadth of scriptural teaching.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So when you say “Catholic Church” you could be referring to the Mormons, JWs or even the Reformed churches.

            Grace is all about salvation, someone having grace is saved and their final state is assured.

          • Albert

            So when you say “Catholic Church” you could be referring to the Mormons, JWs or even the Reformed churches.

            Is it any wonder you misinterpret scripture when you can’t do basic logic. Here’s your argument:

            1. The Catholic Church is worldwide
            2. The Mormons are worldwide
            3. Therefore the Mormons are the Catholic Church.

            It has the same logical structure as:

            1. All dogs are mammals
            2. All cats are mammals
            3. Therefore all cats are dogs.

            Grace is all about salvation, someone having grace is saved and their final state is assured.

            Again, grace is about salvation, but it does not follow that having grace means someone is saved and their final state is assured. It would be like saying: “Medicine is about good-health, therefore someone who takes medicine has good health and their good health is assured.”

          • Martin

            Albert

            So ‘Catholic Church’ is meaningless.

            Having received grace means that someone is saved and if they are saved their final state is assured. It is nothing like “Medicine is about good-health” since ‘grace’ is not medicine for we are saved by grace.

          • Albert

            So ‘Catholic Church’ is meaningless.

            So “dog” is meaningless. But that’s not right, so your argument (it isn’t an argument really, since it has no reasoning in it) is bogus.

            Having received grace means that someone is saved and if they are saved their final state is assured.

            Your words are not scripture, and so I do not have to accept them.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Your worldwide church is just a sect that tries to claim authority over everyone else.

            Of course my words are not Scripture and you do not have to accept them. The fact is that if they were and your sect told you not to accept their plain meaning you’d deny the plain meaning.

          • Albert

            Your worldwide church is just a sect that tries to claim authority over everyone else.

            This is just an insult without an argument.

            The fact is that if they were and your sect told you not to accept their plain meaning you’d deny the plain meaning.

            I could see that the meaning of scripture was not what you think it is, even while I was in the stage in my life in which I regarded the Catholic Church in same way you have expressed in the first sentence of your post. Your doctrines aren’t there. That’s why, after the NT, it take Luther to come up with them. All those people copying by hand each copy of the scripture, and no one noticed your doctrines. Even Luther didn’t notice it, as his mistranslation shows.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Is it not true that Rome has always tried to claim it has authority over everyone else? Is it not true that Rome claims that it, alone, can interpret God’s word?

            Actually there were plenty of people before Luther who quarrelled with Rome’s teaching. The problem was, they either kept quiet or had their lives painfully shortened.

          • Albert

            Is it not true that Rome has always tried to claim it has authority over everyone else? Is it not true that Rome claims that it, alone, can interpret God’s word?

            True, but that does not defend your proposition.

            Actually there were plenty of people before Luther who quarrelled with Rome’s teaching. The problem was, they either kept quiet or had their lives painfully shortened.

            Luther’s sense of sola fide. You may have unusual people who taught it once or twice, but if scripture clearly taught it, it would have been widely held. If you read the Fathers, and other commentators, you see how closely they analyse each word. If the doctrine was there all, or most of them, would have taught it. They didn’t, so you must either give up sola fide or the perspicuity of scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course it defends my proposition. Rome has, for centuries, demanded obedience and declared those who would not bow to be outside God’s Church. It even did that to the Eastern orthodox churches until recently. You are defeated.

            The early Church fathers held to faith alone and all down the centuries people have held to it. Many have died at the hands of Rome that will brook no opposition to it’s view.

          • Albert

            It was the use of the word “sect” that I was objecting to. I am not defeated. You need to show that we are sect.

            The early Church fathers held to faith alone and all down the centuries people have held to it.

            That’s just false. You only have to look at their penitential system to see that.

            Many have died at the hands of Rome that will brook no opposition to it’s view.

            And that’s wrong. But many have died at the hands of Protestants who brook no opposition to their view – even other Protestants.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It seems to me that plenty use sect of the Protestant churches, why would you object to it of yours when they have abandoned the authority of the Bible for the authority of the ecclesia?

            What penitential system, you read into their writings your own view.

            Rome has killed for centuries those who will not bow to it’s authority, the number killed by protestants for their doctrine are small.

          • Albert

            I asked you to show that we are a sect. Your answer appears to be to say that because some Protestant churches are sects, therefore the Catholic Church can be called a sect. I don’t follow the argument.

            What penitential system, you read into their writings your own view.

            A word must be missing here. But the point is straight forward. If we simply look at how the early Church fathers lived and practised their faith, it’s pretty clear they don’t believe in sola fide.

            the number killed by protestants for their doctrine are small.

            When you have smaller amounts of political power, it is unsurprising that you end up with smaller amounts of killing.

          • Martin

            Albert

            How are you a sect and not a Christian church? You teach a salvation where Christ’s sacrifice is not sufficient and must be supplemented by the good works of the sinner. As if any sinner could do sufficient good works to overcome the evil he has done!

            On the contrary, it is absolutely clear that the early Church fathers did believe in sola fide. Not, of course, that they were infallible. Even James teaches salvation by faith, He tells us that the works done point to the faith.

            And Rome has always sought political power. It took a long time for many Christians to realise that the model Rome presented in that respect was not the model of Scripture. Such was the harm Rome did to the gospel.

          • Albert

            You teach a salvation where Christ’s sacrifice is not sufficient and must be supplemented by the good works of the sinner.

            You have it exactly back to front. We teach salvation where Christ’s sacrifice is so sufficient that it makes us do good works. Your doctrine is that Christ’s sacrifice is not sufficient to make us do good works.

            On the contrary, it is absolutely clear that the early Church fathers did believe in sola fide.

            You’ve not read many Church fathers have you?

            Even James teaches salvation by faith, He tells us that the works done point to the faith.

            Which is exactly what the Catholic Church teaches – so it is possible to hold that view and not believe your sola fide doctrine.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, I have it exactly right. For you, Christ’s death on the cross isn’t sufficient to save, you have to also avoid sin

            Show me an early Church father that didn’t believe in sola fide.

            It’s really funny how you have been claiming all along that James teaches that works are necessary for salvation.

          • Albert

            Christ’s death on the cross isn’t sufficient to save, you have to also avoid sin

            Which one does because of the sacrifice of Christ – we believe Christ’s death is sufficient for that to be effected. You don’t believe this because you do not believe in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice.

            Show me an early Church father that didn’t believe in sola fide.

            Here’s Gregory of Nyssa:

            Paul, joining righteousness to faith and weaving them together, constructs of them the breastplates for the infantryman, armoring the soldier properly and safely on both sides. A soldier cannot be considered safely armored when either shield is disjoined from the other. Faith without works of justice is not sufficient for salvation; neither is righteous living secure in itself of salvation, if it is disjoined from faith.

            And John Chrysostom says:

            He that believes in the Son has everlasting life.” Is it enough, then, to believe in the Son,’ someone will say, ‘in order to have everlasting life?’ By no means! Listen to Christ declare this himself when he says, ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord! Lord!” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven’; and the blasphemy against the Spirit is alone sufficient to cast him into hell. But why should I speak of a part of our teaching? For if a man believe rightly in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, but does not live rightly, his faith will avail him nothing toward salvation

            Now as for James, of course, he says works are necessary for salvation. Certainly they come from faith, but necessary they are. He explicitly contradicts your doctrine. It could not be clearer. Even Luther realised this.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I know Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient, it is also effectual. When the exchange is made, the sinner’s sin, all of it, is laid on Christ and the sinner is clothed in Christ’s righteousness. My acts are worthless to save me.

            Works are the result of salvation, the proof that it has occurred.

            I ask you to give me early Church father that didn’t believe in sola fide, as you had claimed and you gave me guys from the fourth century. What part of ‘early’ do you not understand?

          • Albert

            I know Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient, it is also effectual. When the exchange is made, the sinner’s sin, all of it, is laid on Christ and the sinner is clothed in Christ’s righteousness. My acts are worthless to save me.

            It is not sufficient on your view, to make you freely good. But our being freely good is what justification is. You keep distinguishing your works from Christ’s salvation, you seem oblivious to the biblical teaching that our works are Christ’s salvation in us. They are not ours as opposed to Christ’s, rather they are ours because they are Christ’s: When God crowns our merits, it is his own merits he is crowning, as Augustine says.

            I ask you to give me early Church father that didn’t believe in sola fide, as you had claimed and you gave me guys from the fourth century. What part of ‘early’ do you not understand?

            That’s very telling -the Fathers from the Fourth Century are known as early Church Fathers. Consider for example, JND Kelly’s book Early Christian Doctrines, which is the formative text for most people in this area. It goes right up to the Cappadocians. But since you ask, consider that whole long passage in Ignatius to the Romans in which he begs to be allowed to be martyred, so that he can “attain to God”, which will be difficult for him if he is not martyred. And who can criticise him for this when scripture says: When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

            Clement of Rome gives a beautifully balanced account of justification by faith and works:

            Firstly works:Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means of possessing it. Let us think over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith? Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen, cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice. Jacob, through reason of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel.

            Then it is clear that these works are not of our own strength:

            Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, “Your seed shall be as the stars of heaven.” All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men

            Therefore, works are necessary for those who have faith:

            Let us therefore earnestly strive to be found in the number of those who wait for Him, in order that we may share in His promised gifts. But how, beloved, shall this be done? If our understanding be fixed by faith rewards God; if we earnestly seek the things which are pleasing and acceptable to Him; if we do the things which are in harmony with His blameless will; and if we follow the way of truth, casting away from us all unrighteousness and iniquity, along with all covetousness, strife, evil practices, deceit, whispering, and evil-speaking, all hatred of God, pride and haughtiness, vainglory and ambition. For they that do such things are hateful to God; and not only they that do them, but also those who take pleasure in those who do them.

            Now, where are these teachers of Evangelical sola fide among the early Church fathers?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Christ’s death is our justification and by it we are made righteous. After salvation our works are pleasing to God, before they aren’t.

            Trouble is, by the fourth century you see major error coming in. You see error in the first century, but nowhere near as bad.

            So Ignatius, like others of his time, sought martyrdom. What relevance has that to sola fide?

            Sounds like Clement of Rome is singing the praises of faith to me.

          • Albert

            Christ’s death is our justification and by it we are made righteous. After salvation our works are pleasing to God, before they aren’t.

            If, by salvation you mean grace and faith, then we are agreed. But expect you mean something different.

            Trouble is, by the fourth century you see major error coming in.

            That’s the century in which we first get a canon identical with ours. Was error creeping in there?

            So Ignatius, like others of his time, sought martyrdom. What relevance has that to sola fide?

            He clearly thinks that martyrdom will make it easier for him to go to heaven. That doesn’t appear to be true on sola fide. Indeed, Paul’s words provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him do not seem consistent with sola fide either.

            Sounds like Clement of Rome is singing the praises of faith to me.

            Exactly. He’s a good Catholic.

          • Martin

            Albert

            By salvation I mean God’s work in the sinner started and sins forgiven with the assurance that what God has started He will complete.

            Plenty of other errors were present, after all even the apostles had to deal with errors.

            It’ make it easier because he’d be dead, he wouldn’t have to hang around before dying of old age.

            Perhaps you should have read the first four verses of that chapter, they present a different view to what you claim.

            Clement couldn’t be a member of your church, it didn’t exist in his day. And anyway, he didn’t believe what you believe.

          • Albert

            By salvation I mean God’s work in the sinner started and sins forgiven with the assurance that what God has started He will complete.

            I agree with the first two claims, but not the latter.

            It’ make it easier because he’d be dead, he wouldn’t have to hang around before dying of old age.

            If that is referring to Paul then I think it is tenuous.

            Perhaps you should have read the first four verses of that chapter, they present a different view to what you claim.

            I really can’t see how.

            Clement couldn’t be a member of your church, it didn’t exist in his day. And anyway, he didn’t believe what you believe.

            Well, despite repeated requests, I’m still awaiting this regiment of early fathers who held your doctrine.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So you believe God will not complete something He has started.

            Not Paul, Ignatius and his seeking martyrdom.

            Try reading those first four verses, you may have to do so slowly.

            Ignatius clearly believed in sola fide – how else could he happily die believing his eternity secured.

          • Albert

            So you believe God will not complete something He has started.

            Of course God will complete something he has started, the question is will we become unfaithful? As scripture says: if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us

            Not Paul, Ignatius and his seeking martyrdom.
            Try reading those first four verses, you may have to do so slowly.

            I am now quite confused about what you are referring to, and I don’t have time to try to unravel it.

            Ignatius clearly believed in sola fide – how else could he happily die believing his eternity secured.

            Because he believed that through martyrdom he would gain his crown, as scripture says: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him and

            So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 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. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

            Notice that the “provided we suffer with him” refers to those who have already received the Holy Spirit by faith. Thus your doctrine of justification is plainly falsified by scripture, since scripture conceives of someone who has faith, falling away.

            Now here’s a further problem for you. It is evident that, at the very least, your interpretation is not the only one. (In fact, I don’t think it is a viable interpretation, since it is repeatedly excluded by scripture.) But if that is the case then scripture isn’t clear. You can only defend sola fide, by giving way on sola scriptura.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Yes, you’re saying God can’t complete something He has started. Why would you have the ability to contribute anything, you can’t even avoid sinning. Salvation is God’s work, you have nothing to contribute, not even faith.

            Ignatius only expected he would gain the crown through death. How would martyrdom add anything, he was already saved.

            The “provided we suffer with Him” refers to the evidence of salvation not to gaining it. They have already gained it if they are saved.

            Your problem is that ignore any Scripture that contradicts your position and misinterpret the rest. Scripture has to bow to your interpretation.

          • Albert

            Yes, you’re saying God can’t complete something He has started.

            That does not follow what I said. I merely pointed out that scripture explicitly envisages examples of people falling away. Nothing at all follows from that about what God can and cannot do.

            Why would you have the ability to contribute anything, you can’t even avoid sinning. Salvation is God’s work, you have nothing to contribute, not even faith.

            I agree with all of this prior to grace. But if you are to make a point against me you are going to need to claim that this is true even after God has given grace, which would be the same thing as saying God cannot do something – the very point you just accused me of.

            Ignatius only expected he would gain the crown through death. How would martyrdom add anything, he was already saved.

            Yes, if he believed your tradition, that would be true. But the evidence of the passage is that he didn’t. I’m still waiting for all this evidence of early fathers believing sola fide in your sense, by the way.

            The “provided we suffer with Him” refers to the evidence of salvation not to gaining it. They have already gained it if they are saved.

            That’s plainly not what the Bible says. “Provided” is a conditional and this is how the Greek is used elsewhere. You ignore the plain meaning of scripture to uphold your human tradition.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Those that fall away never were Christians, never saved, never subjects of God’s act of salvation:

            They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1John 2:19

            When God has applied His grace to the sinner they have imputed righteousness, they are saved.

            I believe the Bible, not what I am taught the Bible says. The passage gives no evidence of a belief that martyrdom gives any extra merit or assurance of salvation than that given by the Holy Spirit when God saves the sinner.

            The conditional is that we are saved and therefore suffering with Him.

          • Albert

            Those that fall away never were Christians, never saved, never subjects of God’s act of salvation:
            They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1John 2:19

            The logical problem here is that you are inferring a universal from a particular. It does not follow that because those to whom John refers as only leaving to show they were not of us, that therefore everyone who leaves was not of us. As a matter of logic, you have claimed more than scripture says. Furthermore, the position is plainly denied by other passages of scripture, not least by the passage I have repeatedly cited:

            When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

            The passage shows that there is still something conditional. As does this one:

            If we have died with him, we shall also live with him;
            if we endure, we shall also reign with him;
            if we deny him, he also will deny us;
            if we are faithless, he remains faithful —
            for he cannot deny himself.

            And again, no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit

            But Jesus says Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven . Again, scripture says, Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith. Indeed, there are lots of passages that tell us that only those who endure will be saved.

            I’m afraid I think your interpretation of 1 John will not stand the weight of some many pieces of scripture contradicting it – especially given that your interpretation is not necessary.

            I believe the Bible, not what I am taught the Bible says. The passage gives no evidence of a belief that martyrdom gives any extra merit or assurance of salvation than that given by the Holy Spirit when God saves the sinner.
            The conditional is that we are saved and therefore suffering with Him.

            This is so ironic, because it is plainly not what scripture says.

            I’m still waiting for all these supporters of evanglical sola fide from the early fathers.

            I’m also still awaiting a response to the fact that I pointed out that sola fide and sola scriptura cannot both be true.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Try reading a bit more care fully. John is saying that those who went out never were Christians in the first place.

            In the passage you quote the important part is the ‘with Him’. Suffering does not grant any merit but if we suffer as Christians we do so with Him. Those who are not Christians suffer without Him. There is no indication any requirement for salvation. You haven’t given any references for the other passages, so they aren’t relevant.

            Actually you don’t believe the Bible, if you did you wouldn’t bow down to idols, nor would you call the pope ‘holy father’.

          • Albert

            Try reading a bit more care fully. John is saying that those who went out never were Christians in the first place.

            No. You need to read more carefully. Of course it says that they were not Christians in the first place. But it does not say that everyone who leaves was not a Christian in the first place or that no Christian could ever leave.

            In the passage you quote the important part is the ‘with Him’. Suffering does not grant any merit but if we suffer as Christians we do so with Him. Those who are not Christians suffer without Him.

            Of course they only suffer with him and that that is the vital bit. The point is that what Paul says is conditional.

            There is no indication any requirement for salvation.

            It says:

            fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him

            I.e. being a fellow heir is conditional on that.

            You haven’t given any references for the other passages, so they aren’t relevant.

            What? Scripture is authoritative whether or not references are given.

            you wouldn’t bow down to idols

            We do not bow down to idols.

            nor would you call the pope ‘holy father’.

            Why not?

            And again, I ask for these early fathers you said taught your doctrine of sola fide. It’s rather odd, don’t you think that scripture should teach that doctrine clearly and fundamentally, and yet no one noticed until Luther 1500 years later? In other words, if sola fide is true, then sola scriptura is not, for it is evident that scripture alone will not give you the doctrine, rather something else is needed – human tradition (albeit one not going back to the apostles).

          • Martin

            Albert

            Read it again:

            Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
            (I John 2:18-19 [ESV])

            So taking the two passages in bold, the reason they left was because they were not saved, they weren’t Christians. And why did they leave, so that everyone would see they weren’t Christians. Those who left were never Christians, for once the Father has given you to the Son there is no chance that the Son will not complete His work of salvation.

            My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
            (John 10:27-30 [ESV])

            Curiously there is no mention there of the sheep doing anything, not even having faith.

            Yes, you do bow down to idols. A crucifix is an idol, a statue of a saint or Mary is an idol. If you bow down to something you do what is expressly forbidden.

            Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
            (Revelation of John 19:10 [ESV])

            The word translated worship there is proskuneo, it also means venerate. There is no practical difference between worship and venerate.

            As for calling the pope holy father you are giving a title to a man that belongs only to God.

            And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. (John 17:11 [ESV])

            You’ve not given any references in your quotes so I shall ignore them.

            Sola fide isn’t my doctrine, it is the Bibles, remember:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 [ESV])

            Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11 [ESV])

            For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith.
            (Romans 1:17 [ESV])

            If you are going to claim that sola fide isn’t found until Luther, who incidentally found it in the Bible, then why is it that the bodily assumption of Mary was only discovered by Pius XII in 1950?

          • Albert

            I don’t need you to put the passage in bold. I can see which bit you are pointing to, and no matter how much you highlight it, it does not logically entail the point you make. It’s true that it makes a claim about those people, but it does not follow that everyone falls into that category.

            Now the problem with your interpretation is that it is inconsistent with the other passages I have given. They aren’t scripture btw because someone gives the references. The numbers are part of tradition (and quite late at that). You should address the passages because they are the word of God. If you do that, you will see that you cannot take the line you do with 1 John. In any case, the passage need only refer to those who are predestined to salvation and so the passage fails to defend your point. And since we have clear, unanswered biblical evidence against your interpretation, we can see that your interpretation is not scriptural.

            Curiously there is no mention there of the sheep doing anything, not even having faith.

            Which is interesting, isn’t it? The fact that the passage does not place conditions (i.e. faith) on being sheep, doesn’t mean there are no conditions.

            There is no practical difference between worship and venerate.

            If you really think that, then I worry that you only venerate God and do not worship him.

            Sola fide isn’t my doctrine, it is the Bibles

            You are a tease! You say that, and then you quote a load of passages that does not teach sola fide. They teach justification by faith and not by works prior to grace or works of the law. They are silent on sola fide though as you Protestants understand it.

            If you are going to claim that sola fide isn’t found until Luther, who incidentally found it in the Bible

            Yes, but only after he arbitrarily added the word “alone” to his translation. The word “alone” is therefore Luther’s word, not God’s. I’ll stick with divine authority, thanks.

            then why is it that the bodily assumption of Mary was only discovered by Pius XII in 1950?

            It wasn’t. You need to check your history.

          • Martin

            Albert

            What do you not understand about those the Father gave the Son not allowing anyone to snatch His sheep out of His hand?

            My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
            (John 10:27-29 [ESV])

            It therefore follows that those who did leave cannot be His sheep.

            Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
            (I John 2:18-19 [ESV])

            And since only Jesus’ sheep follow Him it must be that those who follow Him are His sheep. Thus we have:

            So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 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. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father! The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
            (Romans 8:12-17 [ESV])

            Those who are His sheep live by the Spirit, that is by faith, and receive the Holy Spirit so that they know they are saved, know that God is their father. Christians, by being in the World but not of it, suffering the woes of a believer in an unbelieving world. We suffer because we are Christians, we aren’t Christians because we suffer.

            There are no conditions on the sheep. Remember, faith is the gift of God.

            There is no practical difference between venerate and worship. Bowing down to an angel, or a saint or cross is forbidden because it is worship.

            And you haven’t told me why it wasn’t Pius XII who discovered the bodily assumption of Mary. It clearly wasn’t required belief until 1950.

            And, again, salvation by faith alone is clearly taught in these texts:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 [ESV])

            Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11 [ESV])

            For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith.
            (Romans 1:17 [ESV])

          • Albert

            It therefore follows that those who did leave cannot be His sheep.

            But does this refer to those who have faith or those who are predestined? You can try to collapse the two into each other, but you need to give biblical reason for doing so. Now the question of predestination applies to all your passages. So it could be that those who are predestined are those who fulfil the condition of suffering with him and having good works. That would be a perfectly Catholic thing to say.

            Remember, faith is the gift of God.

            Why do you say things like that? Do you really believe that I don’t know that already?

            There is no practical difference between venerate and worship. Bowing down to an angel, or a saint or cross is forbidden because it is worship.

            There’s a clear difference between the two. The two words do not mean the same thing.

            And you haven’t told me why it wasn’t Pius XII who discovered the bodily assumption of Mary. It clearly wasn’t required belief until 1950.

            You haven’t given any reason to think that Pius discovered it. It was dogmatised in 1950 because everyone already believed it, not the other way around. Therefore, it was not discovered by Pius XII. Here’s Newman writing in 1849 on the subject:

            as is befitting, she is, soul and body, with her Son and God in heaven, and that we are enabled to celebrate, not only her death, but her Assumption.

            You say:

            salvation by faith alone is clearly taught in these texts
            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 [ESV])
            Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11 [ESV])
            For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith.
            (Romans 1:17 [ESV])

            But I’ve already pointed out that these passages do not teach your doctrine of sola fide. They are just as consistent with our doctrine of justification by faith. It’s just that you don’t bother to try to understand our doctrine, you are too busy condemning it. Bizarrely, you don’t even ask me to explain how a Catholic understands them.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Those who have faith are those who are predestined, only those who are predestined receive faith:

            And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
            (Romans 8:28-30 [ESV])

            Venerate and worship mean the same thing.

            If the bodily assumption of Mary was only dogmatised in 1950 it cannot have been required belief before then.

            The apostate Newman isn’t saying it is required belief.

            Salvation by faith alone is clearly taught in those texts. It’s not my problem if you can’t see it.

          • Albert

            Romans 8 does not prove the point you make. It proves that those whom God predestines have faith, it does not prove that only those whom God predestines have faith. And that is the key thing.

            Worship and venerate are clearly different concepts.

            If the bodily assumption of Mary was only dogmatised in 1950 it cannot have been required belief before then.

            That was not the point you made, and it does nothing to serve your wider position.

            The apostate Newman isn’t saying it is required belief.

            I never said he was – any more than that I would agree he is an apostate.

            Salvation by faith alone is clearly taught in those texts. It’s not my problem if you can’t see it.</i.

            It obviously isn't explicitly taught, because it doesn't say it. I'm fascinated that you never seem to want to hear the opposing interpretation. It's almost as if you don't have confidence in your own.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Why would any that God does not predestine have faith?

            Worship and venerate are clearly the same thing.

            It was my point, I was pointing out that your own claim was nonsense.

            Newman was clearly an apostate, since he left a Christian church to join a sect. And your point was that the assumption of Mary was believed by everyone, which must mean that it was already dogma.

            I suspect you haven’t finished that post.

          • Albert

            Thank you. I’d made a typo in the code and so it didn’t show properly. Now corrected.

            Why would any that God does not predestine have faith?

            That comes down to what God chooses to do. And we can’t hold God to our rational standard. So the question does not need an answer. So instead of reasoning a priori about what God would or would not do, we need to consider what God shows he does. It is evident from scripture that some of those who have faith fall away. Ergo.

            Worship and venerate are clearly the same thing.

            The argument is yours. You need to show that they are the same thing. Just gainsaying my denial is not an argument.

            Newman was clearly not an apostate, since he left a sect to join the fullness of Christ’s Church.

            And your point was that the assumption of Mary was believed by everyone, which must mean that it was already dogma.

            No, that’s not true. It was a response to your claim:

            If you are going to claim that sola fide isn’t found until Luther, who incidentally found it in the Bible, then why is it that the bodily assumption of Mary was only discovered by Pius XII in 1950?

            So it was your claim, and your claim was that it was only discovered in 1950. This is factually wrong, it was in fact only dogmatised in 1950 – which is something quite different. The contrast with Luther is striking. Prior to Luther, the doctrine of sola fide did not exist, except as a doctrine to be denied. Here’s St Augustine appealing to scripture against the doctrine:

            Chapter 67. Faith Without Works is Dead, and Cannot Save a Man.

            It is believed, moreover, by some, that men who do not abandon the name of Christ, and who have been baptized in the Church by His baptism, and who have never been cut off from the Church by any schism or heresy, though they should live in the grossest sin and never either wash it away in penitence nor redeem it by almsgiving, but persevere in it persistently to the last day of their lives, shall be saved by fire; that is, that although they shall suffer a punishment by fire, lasting for a time proportionate to the magnitude of their crimes and misdeeds, they shall not be punished with everlasting fire. But those who believe this, and yet are Catholics, seem to me to be led astray by a kind of benevolent feeling natural to humanity. For Holy Scripture, when consulted, gives a very different answer. I have written a book on this subject, entitled Of Faith and Works, in which, to the best of my ability, God assisting me, I have shown from Scripture, that the faith which saves us is that which the Apostle Paul clearly enough describes when he says: For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which works by love. But if it works evil, and not good, then without doubt, as the Apostle James says, it is dead, being alone. The same apostle says again, What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? And further, if a wicked man shall be saved by fire on account of his faith alone, and if this is what the blessed Apostle Paul means when he says, But he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire; then faith without works can save a man, and what his fellow-apostle James says must be false. And that must be false which Paul himself says in another place: Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners; shall inherit the kingdom of God. For if those who persevere in these wicked courses shall nevertheless be saved on account of their faith in Christ, how can it be true that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

          • Martin

            Albert

            God has told us what He will do, we can hold Him to that standard. That’s what Moses did in Exodus 32. God has said He will save whom He chooses to save, why would we expect any different. Since God gives faith, how can any who receive His gift of faith lose it? Clearly you ignore the parable of the soils that clearly teaches that those who God has prepared to receive faith are never lost.

            You haven’t demonstrated that worship and venerate are different. Your church may teach they are but your church is apostate and has been for a long time. That is the sect that Newman joined. The sect that persecuted God’s Church and put to death the saints.

            If something is only dogmatised in 1950 it means it wasn’t required belief before that, which means it was a new invention.

            And where have I denied that faith without works is a dead faith? As James tells us, faith is demonstrated by works. So your argument from Augustine is fallacious, he is not saying that salvation by faith alone is false, just as James isn’t.

          • Albert

            God has told us what He will do, we can hold Him to that standard. That’s what Moses did in Exodus 32. God has said He will save whom He chooses to save, why would we expect any different.

            I have never denied that.

            Since God gives faith, how can any who receive His gift of faith lose it?

            Because they reject it.

            Clearly you ignore the parable of the soils that clearly teaches that those who God has prepared to receive faith are never lost.

            Which would be entirely consistent with my point about predestination, so your point proves nothing. On the other hand, you seem to have missed the line that says:

            The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

            Notice that the person (a) receives the word and (b) had joy as a result. But joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and receiving the word of God is also a work of the Spirit. Therefore, these people have faith, but then reject that faith.

            You haven’t demonstrated that worship and venerate are different.

            I don’t have to. They are two different words with two different definitions, I say that when I venerate I am doing something different from worship, and this is what my Church teaches. And it’s your argument, so the burden of proof rests on you and you haven’t even begun to defend your claim.

            Your church may teach they the same are but your church is apostate and has been for a long time. You claim to prove your doctrines from scripture, but you cannot do that. Bizarre.

            If something is only dogmatised in 1950 it means it wasn’t required belief before that, which means it was a new invention.

            The Trinity was only dogmatised in the Fourth Century. Are you going to say it was an invention then? And why don’t you be honest and admit that you original claim was quite different? This is what you said:

            If you are going to claim that sola fide isn’t found until Luther, who incidentally found it in the Bible, then why is it that the bodily assumption of Mary was only discovered by Pius XII in 1950?

            And that is not a true claim.

            And where have I denied that faith without works is a dead faith?

            I never said you were denying faith without works is dead. I am saying you are denying that we are justified by works and not by faith alone. And it is that teaching that Augustine gives us, but which you deny.

            And that of course, raises the question of all these believers in Evangelical sola fide you mentioned but have not cited. And the fact that all these writers quote scripture but do not find there the doctrine you think is there means that either sola fide is true and sol scriptura is false (since scripture, by itself doesn’t clearly teach sola fide) or it may mean that sola scriptura is true, and therefore sola fide is false, since scripture clearly teaches we are justified by works and not by faith alone and Augustine finds this teaching in Paul as well.

            Personally, I think both solas, as Evangelicals understand them, are just made up.

          • Martin

            Albert

            If God has said He will save someone they cannot reject it.

            The rocky ground is the unprepared soil. They are those who are not the elect, who haven’t been predestined and purely by natural human nature respond to the gospel. They never were Christians.

            Venerate is the same thing as worship.

            Clearly to dogmatise something has no meaning and your point on Luther is irrelevant.

            Augustine is not saying we are justified by works, and neither is James. Both are saying that works demonstrate the vitality of the faith. Hence sola scriptura and sola fide are true.

          • Albert

            If God has said He will save someone they cannot reject it.

            But he hasn’t said that. You have.

            The rocky ground is the unprepared soil. They are those who are not the elect, who haven’t been predestined

            I can go with that.

            purely by natural human nature respond to the gospel. They never were Christians.

            It doesn’t say that, and I have given several texts, including the parable itself, to show that that cannot be the meaning.

            Venerate is the same thing as worship.

            You keep asserting that because you cannot defend it.

            Clearly to dogmatise something has no meaning and your point on Luther is irrelevant.

            What?

            Augustine is not saying we are justified by works, and neither is James. Both are saying that works demonstrate the vitality of the faith. Hence sola scriptura and sola fide are true.

            No, they are saying we are justified by works and not by faith alone, hence sola fide can only be true is sola scriptura isn’t.

            I don’t suppose I could trouble for some argumentation and reasoning to defend your points could I? Arguments and reason in defence of your positions are as elusive as your purported supporters of evangelical sola fide are amongst the early fathers in your posts.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Actually He has said that:

            No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44 [ESV])

            I don’t see anything there about the one coming having to agree.

            My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
            (John 10:27-29 [ESV])

            Since no one is able to snatch them away, that must mean that even they cannot.

            If the ground hasn’t been prepared then they clearly aren’t those chosen by the Father before the beginning of time. Thus those that do not produce fruit never were Christians.

            Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
            (Revelation of John 19:10 [ESV])

            Here we have John’s reaction to the angel who accompanied him and the angels rebuke. The word translated ‘worship’, proskuneo describes what you do to saints and Mary.

            They are saying that works are the evidence of the faith, thus supporting sola fide. Try actually reading the passages, that’s sufficient to prove you wrong.

          • Albert

            I don’t see anything there about the one coming having to agree.

            I don’t see anything here that proves your point that freewill is denied. Jesus makes two statements:

            1. No one can come to the Father unless the Father draws him – i.e. grace is necessary.
            2. Those who come will be raised up.

            Where’s the contradiction either with the Catholic faith or with what I said.

            Since no one is able to snatch them away, that must mean that even they cannot.

            That doesn’t have to follow. It can mean no one else can snatch them away, but that does not exclude the possibility that they fall away of their own accord.

            If the ground hasn’t been prepared then they clearly aren’t those chosen by the Father before the beginning of time.

            Agreed.

            Thus those that do not produce fruit never were Christians.

            That didn’t follow. You need an extra premise here, and you haven’t provided it. It is entirely possible that there are Christians who believe with joy, exactly as the parable says, but then die away. Therefore, the parable says the opposite of what you say it says. And this teaching would be consistent with other passages I have cited.

            Here we have John’s reaction to the angel who accompanied him and the angels rebuke. The word translated ‘worship’, proskuneo describes what you do to saints and Mary.

            No it isn’t.

            They are saying that works are the evidence of the faith, thus supporting sola fide. Try actually reading the passages, that’s sufficient to prove you wrong.

            Well, this is what I said:

            No, they are saying we are justified by works and not by faith alone

            Now you are objecting to that, but what you don’t seem to realise is that the bit you are objecting to is simply a quotation of scripture:

            You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            Now if you are having to contradict scripture, and not simply my commentary on scripture, what else can it mean but that your doctrine is not that of scripture. As you say, Try actually reading the passages, that’s sufficient to prove you wrong.

          • Martin

            Albert

            There is no mention of freewill because it doesn’t enter into it. The Father draws those who will be saved, the Son raises them up. They have no will, no choice. Grace means they are saved.

            It doesn’t say, ‘no one else’, it says no one. The are persons, therefore they are excluded by the no one.

            In the case of the ‘they saw no one but Jesus’ those identified by the ‘they’ are obviously excluded from the ‘no one’.

            I don’t know where your reference to ‘the key’ comes from so it is excluded.

            Those who receive with joy but die away are clearly not included in the prepared soil so they are not the ones who the Father has chosen, therefore they were never Christians for only those who are the prepared soil are Christians. As John says:

            They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (I John 2:19 [ESV])

            so clearly those who leave are not Christians in the first place.

            John’s behaviour toward the angel is identical to your behaviour toward Mary & the saints.

            I’m not objecting to a quotation of Scripture but your incorrect interpretation of it. Try reading the whole passage.

          • Albert

            There is no mention of freewill because it doesn’t enter into it. The Father draws those who will be saved, the Son raises them up. They have no will, no choice. Grace means they are saved.

            That’s your assertion. But you are using the text to try to prove your point. But without your accompanying assertion, the text simply does not say what you need it to say. On the other hand, I can easily appeal to scripture to defend the Catholic position on freewill:

            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.

            Here is a perfect statement of Catholic teaching: 1. We are to work out our salvation. But how can we do this given that we are by nature children of wrath? It becomes possible because 2. God is at work in us, therefore 3. we can will and work for his good pleasure. And why is this any surprise to the man who believes the Lord when he says: Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father? Therefore, scripture teaches I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Why don’t you just take scripture at its word and believe it? Are you going to dismiss these words because I have not given references (references which are not part of scripture, but are a later tradition)?

            I don’t know where your reference to ‘the key’ comes from so it is excluded.

            How odd, it’s a pretty famous passage. Your really don’t know your Bible, do you despite your willingness to be abusive to Catholics, on the humours grounds that you know scripture better. Anyway, I thought you sola sacriptura chaps were supposed to be able to tell when something is scripture. But if you know the passage is scripture, how can you “exclude” scripture?

            Those who receive with joy but die away are clearly not included in the prepared soil so they are not the ones who the Father has chosen,

            Fine.

            therefore they were never Christians for only those who are the prepared soil are Christians.

            Despite the use of the word “therefore” this sentence did not follow.

            They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

            Even if we take this example as standing for everyone, which would be a bit of a stretch, it only tells us that they weren’t predestined to salvation – a point I have freely conceded.

            so clearly those who leave are not Christians in the first place.

            It’s not clear at all, since it is open to more than one interpretation.

            I’m not objecting to a quotation of Scripture but your incorrect interpretation of it. Try reading the whole passage.

            But that’s the point. I’m not interpreting it, I am just quoting it – it condemns your doctrine, as well it may, since the Lord says he will repay every man for what he has done. But again, you just don’t want to believe what scripture says.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You have again and again proven yourself dishonest in your representation of what Scripture says, you have yet to successfully justify yourself from Scripture. Why would you imagine you could do so now?

            Working out our salvation does not mean we have to work for our salvation. If you bothered to read the passage you’d see that it is God working in the Christian, so the Christian cooperates with God. No longer are they to rely on Paul correcting them, now they are to do it for themselves. God has started the work, and will continue it. But that is not to mean that they may lie back and do nothing. God isn’t about to give up, but it is their’s to work with God. In any case, you aren’t quoting Scripture so I don’t have to answer it.

            You claim it’s a famous passage, I can’t find it. If I’m abusive to ‘Catholics’ then so are you to those of us who believe the Bible.

            Of course it follows, those who the Father gives the Son are those, and only those, who are saved. If someone isn’t predestined to salvation, that is God chose them before the foundation of the World, they will not be saved. They are not one with Christians.

            You are interpreting the passage. You are taking one portion and ignoring the context.

          • Albert

            You have again and again proven yourself dishonest in your representation of what Scripture says, you have yet to successfully justify yourself from Scripture.

            Oh dear. You think you can see into my soul and know my motivation. So, because you do not understand my interpretation of scripture you think it is false, and because you think it is false, you think I am being dishonest. It never occurs to you that perhaps you are mistaken or over-reaching in claiming to know what only God could know: the state of my soul. Presumably you think that when our Lord said “Judge not that ye be not judged” he was speaking only to other people, not to you.

            Working out our salvation does not mean we have to work for our salvation. If you bothered to read the passage you’d see that it is God working in the Christian, so the Christian cooperates with God.

            If you bother to read what I actually say, that is what I have been saying all along. What you have written here is what the Catholic faith is. As I have quoted to you several times before “When God crowns our merits, it’s his own merits he is crowning.” Bizarrely, what you say here about God working in the Christian is actually a neat summary of what I just said, and which you attributed to my alleged dishonesty:

            1. We are to work out our salvation. But how can we do this given that we are by nature children of wrath? It becomes possible because 2. God is at work in us

            You then go on to say:

            In any case, you aren’t quoting Scripture so I don’t have to answer it.

            On the contrary, each quotation I gave is scripture:

            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.

            Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

            I can do all things in him who strengthens me

            You then say:

            You claim it’s a famous passage, I can’t find it. If I’m abusive to ‘Catholics’ then so are you to those of us who believe the Bible.

            The passage I referred to as famous is Isaiah 22.22: I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. It’s hard to see how you can claim to believe the Bible when you don’t even know the Bible.

            Of course it follows, those who the Father gives the Son are those, and only those, who are saved. If someone isn’t predestined to salvation, that is God chose them before the foundation of the World, they will not be saved.

            I have no argument with this. It’s what follows that is the problem:

            They are not one with Christians.

            You are simply assuming that the term “Christian” is coterminous with “saved” or “predestined.” But that’s the very point at issue, it’s not something you can assume.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Both your soul and motivation are there for all to see.

            Your interpretation of Scripture ignores the context and fits what you are told to believe. Equally you ignore the context when speaking of judging.

            We have no merits for God to crown, all the good that we do is attributable to God alone. Your doctrine requires that we cooperate with God in order to be saved, the Bible tells us that we cooperate with God because we have been saved.

            We were, by nature, children of wrath. When God gives the new birth we are no longer children of wrath but heirs of God.

            If you don’t give a reference I will not consider it Scripture.

            I fail to see what relevance Isaiah 22 has to your argument.BTW, I don’t need to know every verse of God’s word to believe what He says.

            The term Christian is synonymous with saved, those who are predestined will, at some point in time, be saved and hence Christians. Those who are not of those elect will never be Christians.

          • Albert

            Both your soul and motivation are there for all to see.

            Oh dear. I know what you don’t know, and that is, that even if I am mistaken, I am not being dishonest. And this is probably obvious to anyone reading this – except you.

            Your interpretation of Scripture ignores the context and fits what you are told to believe.

            It is no good appealing to context to contradict what scripture says. And you fail to see that my interpretation fits both with what a passage says and with the wider context. Yours only fits with the wider context.

            We have no merits for God to crown, all the good that we do is attributable to God alone.

            I think that’s just self-contradictory. The good we do just is what is called merit, and it is attributable to God – to God alone, if by that, you mean we have no power to do it except he gives it to us.

            the Bible tells us that we cooperate with God because we have been saved.

            Where does it say precisely that? I can appeal to James to show that we are justified by works, which contradicts your point of view.

            We were, by nature, children of wrath. When God gives the new birth we are no longer children of wrath but heirs of God.

            I have no quarrel with that.

            If you don’t give a reference I will not consider it Scripture.

            How telling! Scripture is scripture, regardless of the reference. It is the word of God, word of God without a reference, but you are prepared not to accept that authority. BTW the reference is part of human tradition, not scripture. God saw fit to expect us to receive scripture without references. You deny that, because it is the only way to ensure scripture does not contradict you.

            I fail to see what relevance Isaiah 22 has to your argument.

            It was to do with the Bible’s use of the word “no one”.

            BTW, I don’t need to know every verse of God’s word to believe what He says.

            You need to know more than you do in order to understand scripture. Even the Devil quoted scripture – but Jesus quoted scripture back. Thus if you have such a limited view of scripture and you limit it further by not accepting a scripture without a references, then you will simply believe what your teachers tell you, and not know whether their position is purely partial.

            The term Christian is synonymous with saved

            Is it? Where does scripture say that? You would need to show that all disciples are saved. Can you do that?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The problem is that you pick short passages and ignore the context. And no, I don’t contradict what Scripture says if I take note of the context. Your interpretation cannot fit what the passage says if ignores and contradicts the context.

            Of course we have no power to do good except as God gives us:

            as it is written:
            None is righteous, no, not one;
            no one understands;
            no one seeks for God.
            All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
            no one does good,
            not even one.
            Their throat is an open grave;
            they use their tongues to deceive.
            The venom of asps is under their lips.
            Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
            Their feet are swift to shed blood;
            in their paths are ruin and misery,
            and the way of peace they have not known.
            There is no fear of God before their eyes.
            (Romans 3:10-18 [ESV])

            No room for any righteousness there.

            James is saying that our works are evidence and result of our faith, as I have already pointed out, not a contribution on our part. The passage above demonstrates that naturally, while we are children of wrath, we are incapable of doing good.

            I am tired of your laziness in not giving references, that is the only reason I will not regard those passages you claim are Scripture.

            It is quite clear that the term disciple is not synonymous with Christian, but all Christians are saved.

          • Albert

            The problem is that you pick short passages and ignore the context. And no, I don’t contradict what Scripture says if I take note of the context. Your interpretation cannot fit what the passage says if ignores and contradicts the context.

            This is just silly. There is nothing I say that contradicts the context. But what you say explicitly contradicts what scripture explicitly says. The context is consistent with what we both say (I assume we are talking about James), but the text itself contradicts your position, and simply is mine.

            Of course we have no power to do good except as God gives us

            I think we are both agreed on that!

            James is saying that our works are evidence and result of our faith, as I have already pointed out,

            Yes, he is saying that. But he isn’t only saying that. He is saying we are justified by works and not by faith alone, therefore, works are evidence of faith.

            The passage above demonstrates that naturally, while we are children of wrath, we are incapable of doing good.

            Which have not disagreed with. But what your human tradition seems to do is to take away your faith that God can do things in us and that we, by faith can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. That’s what scripture says, but you don’t believe it.

            I am tired of your laziness in not giving references, that is the only reason I will not regard those passages you claim are Scripture.

            I a tired of you attempting to answer my points without quoting them – after all, any competent reader of scripture will recognize my Bible quotes, and those that don’t have that facility can use the internet or a concordance. But when you attempt to answer point after point of mine, I do not have that resource and it is sometimes difficult to know what you mean.

            You say: It is quite clear that the term disciple is not synonymous with Christian,

            But scripture says:

            and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.

            I asked you for scripture to defend your claim that The term Christian is synonymous with saved and you have not done so. Now notice how Acts says that the disciples were called Christians. Now read John 6:

            Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.

            Again, in Acts, we read:

            When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Ico’nium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

            Notice how he has exhort them to continue in the faith – even though they are disciples/Christianbs, there is still the risk of falling away. Notice also that these disicples/Christians will enter the kingdom of God through many tribulations. So it is plainly false to say that the disciples/Christians will assuredly go to heaven by faith alone.

            Again in Acts 20 Paul says:

            I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.

            So disciples are Christians, and some can fall away.

            but all Christians are saved.

            If you mean by that that all Christians will assuredly go to heaven, then I repeat that I have asked for evidence of it, for, as you believe in sola scriptura, you will be able to provide that evidence for it, or admit you were speaking on your own authority. And while you have failed to give scripture for it, I have given scripture to the contrary.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You constantly contradict the context, that is my point. I, on the other hand, do not contradict the context. The text supports my position & contradicts yours.

            If you agree that we have no power to do good except as God gives us then you must admit that we must be saved before we can do good. Thus our salvation is not dependent upon our doing what is right but upon God. Since that is so, nothing we do can take away our salvation.

            James is saying that the evidence of faith is good works – good works which are the result of salvation not a contribution to salvation.

            God only strengthens those He has saved.

            I think my posts are quite clear and you are simply lazy. When you quote it is normal to indicate where it comes from

            Was Judas called a Christian in Antioch, and what of the disciples in John 6:66, were they Christians? They were clearly neither saved, nor Christians.

            Since you have given no references, you clearly have no Scripture to support your position.

            I’m afraid Acts 20 doesn’t prove Christians can fall away, remember Jesus says:

            Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
            (John 6:35-40 [ESV])

            That is quite explicit, The Father gives them to the Son and they will be saved and they will not be lost and they will be raised up on the last day.

          • Albert

            You constantly contradict the context, that is my point. I, on the other hand, do not contradict the context. The text supports my position & contradicts yours.

            Please show the contradiction you think I make. I maintain that the context is open to both a Protestant and a Catholic interpretation, but that the specific line of James 2.24 is not open to a Protestant interpretation, and this therefore closes against a Protestant interpretation of the context. The context however cannot be used to close against a Catholic interpretation.

            If you agree that we have no power to do good except as God gives us then you must admit that we must be saved before we can do good.

            In one sense yes. But it depends on what you mean by save. Someone who receives life-saving medicine may well say they are saved, even before the medicine has cured the illness – i.e. they can say they are saved even before the process of being saved is complete. Moreover, such a person will only go on to be completely saved if they continue taking the medicine. So it is with grace.

            Thus our salvation is not dependent upon our doing what is right but upon God.

            Our doing what is good is dependent upon God. Hence Jesus says:

            `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

            And:

            “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’

            Notice these people have faith, not only do they say “Lord, Lord” (NB “no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit), and they can prophesy and cast our demons in the name of Christ. Yet they do not enter heaven. Notice that you cannot cast out demons in the name of Christ except by faith:

            these signs will accompany those who believe [Gk πιστεύω the same word for faith]: in my name they will cast out demons

            And again:

            “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.
            For he that is not against us is for us.

            Notice this: the man cast out demons in Christ’s name, and therefore he is for us (Christ), but although already for us, there is a process still at work: no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. And yet, such persons are still able to fall away, if they do not have works:

            “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’

            This is exactly the situation James has in mind. There are those who have faith alone but not faith and works and so Christ says he never knew them. Hence James says:

            So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            So whether we look for explicit formulations (Jas.2.24) or we look at the wider context, it always teaches the same Catholic faith:

            You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            But it seems to me that there is nothing scripture can say that would convince you. If there was a passage that said “Luther is a heretic and all the Protestants who believe sola fide are heretics,” you would not believe it – you would appeal to context.

            James is saying that the evidence of faith is good works – good works which are the result of salvation not a contribution to salvation.

            No. James says the opposite: salvation (justification) is the result good works, and not faith alone:

            You see that a man is justified [saved] by works and not by faith alone.

            However, as we can see from elsewhere, the good works become possible because of faith and grace, therefore they are God’s good works working in us.

            I think my posts are quite clear and you are simply lazy.

            Your posts are often unclear, but you are lazy – too lazy to include the quote you are referring to, and too lazy either to know the scripture well enough or to google passages you do not know.

            When you quote it is normal to indicate where it comes from

            Yes, if I was writing a book. But this is a blog, and I can reasonably assume a scriptural knowledgeable interlocutor will recognize my passages. Look how many passages of scripture I cite in this post. It becomes time-consuming to add the references. It’s easy for you to say that I should give references, you typically give few references to scripture – so it’s easy for you to say. In your last post, you have cited only one passage, in this post I have cited 9 passages so far. But as you don’t know the scriptures well, why not see it as an opportunity to get to know God’s word better?

            Was Judas called a Christian in Antioch, and what of the disciples in John 6:66, were they Christians? They were clearly neither saved, nor Christians.

            They are called disciples and disciples are called Christians. But they are not saved. You have provided zero evidence that the word “Christian” applies only to the saved.

            Since you have given no references, you clearly have no Scripture to support your position.

            That is amongst the most bizarre things I ever seen on the internet. Scripture is scripture regardless of the reference. Did our Lord give references when he spoke? Did Paul? Even the Pharisees do not come up with such a shocking argument as “Because you do not give references, you do not have scripture to support your position.” Since the references are a human creation/tradition and you think scripture gains its authority from the reference, you apparently think scripture gains its authority from human tradition. Strange for an Evangelical to think that.

            I’m afraid Acts 20 doesn’t prove Christians can fall away

            Yes it does, and John 6 does not use the word “Christian” so it does not support your point. Neither does it prove that those who have faith are unable to fall away of their own freewill. However, I have proved that by abundant passages in this post. Here’s my bet: you won’t even attempt to go through them one by one to show that they don’t

          • Martin

            Albert

            What is it about “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works”? James is talking about showing his faith, not about its nature.

            Save in the context of Christianity happens once and is an act of grace. It doesn’t require repeated application. That is why Jesus speaks of being born again, no repeated ‘birth’.

            Our doing what is good is dependent upon our being saved. Those who are saying “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you” do not have faith, they are now standing before the judge who they ignored in life. The reason they are saying ‘Lord’ is because they now see Him as Lord, not because they have faith.

            It is impossible to have faith and not have works, as James points out. It is Scripture that persuades me that Rome is the heretic.

            You are correct in saying good works are the result of grace, so is faith. Grace is applied, the soul is born again and hence saved for all eternity.

            Christians are called disciples, but not all disciples are Christians. We’re back to the parable of the soils, only the soil that is prepared produces fruit. The stony ground, the ground infested with weeds, is not the true Christian, though they may appear to be disciples.

            I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
            (Acts 20:29-30 [ESV])

            This does not prove that Christians can fall away, because John says:

            They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (I John 2:19 [ESV])

            The term Christian applies to all who have been born again, to Noah, Abraham, Job, Joseph, Samuel, David, Daniel among them. It refers to any who have been born again, justified made righteous before God. And remember, you have given no Scripture references.

          • Albert

            What is it about “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works”? James is talking about showing his faith, not about its nature.

            Exactly. It is about showing he has faith. But we both agree that there are no good works prior to faith. The question we are addressing is whether having good works shows we are justified. That is, are we justified by faith alone, so that good works follow faith and justification? Or are we justified by faith and good works, so that good works follow faith, but come before the completion of justification? Jas 2.18 is consistent with both answers and, by itself does not address the question, since it is only addressing the question of faith. It is saying faith is a prerequisite for works. But then James answers the question a bit later:

            Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren?

            What does he mean by “barren”? He means it does not produce the fruit of justification:

            Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?

            So justification follows works, since “Abraham our father [is] justified by works”. But lest anyone fall into the contrary error of assuming works are possible before grace, he says:

            You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            This just is the Catholic teaching. Small wonder Luther raised doubts about its canonicity and called it an epistle of straw and said he wanted to burn it in his oven. He realised that it was contrary to his Gospel. But actually it is scripture, and as scripture says:

            even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

            You say:

            Save in the context of Christianity happens once and is an act of grace. It doesn’t require repeated application.

            It’s not a repeated application, it is a process.

            That is why Jesus speaks of being born again, no repeated ‘birth’.

            No one is suggesting it is a repeated birth. But it is evident that after birth comes growth.

            Our doing what is good is dependent upon our being saved.

            No. The Bible says that our being saved is dependent upon our doing good, but our doing good is dependent on God’s grace received by faith.

            Those who are saying “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you” do not have faith, they are now standing before the judge who they ignored in life. The reason they are saying ‘Lord’ is because they now see Him as Lord, not because they have faith.

            That may well be true, but it doesn’t establish your point, since we are both agreed that we must have faith in order to do good works. What we can see from Matthew 7.21ff is that there are those who have faith (they can do exorcisms etc., cf John 15.4, we cannot do works unless we are in Christ), but, owing to their lack of works, they are cast out. So again, we find scripture teaching one and the same Catholic faith: You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            It is impossible to have faith and not have works, as James points out.

            That’s not pointed out. He does not say “If you had faith you would have works.” He says, we cannot have works without faith, but that faith apart from works is barren? Obviously, therefore you can have faith without works. He calls such faith “faith” and this again is the same teaching as in Matthew 7.21ff, and for that matter, Galatians 5.19-21 (a passage which clearly addresses people of faith) – someone who does not overcome his sins (contrary to the doctrine of simul justus et peccator) the person who remains in his sin, even if he has faith, cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

            Christians are called disciples, but not all disciples are Christians.

            What is the basis of this distinction? It seems to me that the basis is your human tradition that all Christians are saved clashing with the biblical teaching that the disciples are called “Christians”. But if I do not accept your unsubstantiated claim that all Christians are saved (which, as I have argued is repeated contrary to scripture, if by “Christian” you mean “one who has faith”), then I cannot see any reason to accept your distinction. Can you provide a scriptural proof of your claim?

            They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (I John 2:19 [ESV])

            Well, we’ve been through this passage already. It need only be taken as applying to those specific people (in the sense of “I knew they never really believed” and now it is clear to everyone) rather than to everyone. Or it may be taken as applying to those not predestined to salvation. Either interpretation is entirely consistent with Catholic teaching and either interpretation undermines your position – a position which, it must be remembered, has been repeatedly denied by scripture.

            The term Christian applies to all who have been born again, to Noah, Abraham, Job, Joseph, Samuel, David, Daniel among them. It refers to any who have been born again, justified made righteous before God. And remember, you have given no Scripture references.

            You’re kidding me? You’ve just made this assertion, and you have provided no biblical basis for it. I do not need to give numbers in order for it to be Scripture – Scripture doesn’t so the demand that I should plainly comes from human tradition.

          • Albert

            By way of a friendly aside, do you realise we began this argument on 9th October! Do you think we’ve both got OCD?! 🙂

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, I think we are both convinced that it is a matter of eternal destiny.

          • Albert

            Interesting. I don’t think people go to hell simply for believing sola fide. But I do think believing sola fide may lead people to behave in ways as make hell a greater risk.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Does not the church of Rome claim that it alone can interpret the Bible? It wasn’t an insult but an accurate statement.

            And remember, they aren’t my doctrines, they are the doctrines of great men of God.

          • Albert

            It was not the claim about authority and interpretation I was objecting to.

            they are the doctrines of great men of God.

            That’s rather begging the question…

          • Martin

            Albert

            The conclusions arise out of the claims to authority & interpretation.

            And no, it isn’t begging the question.

      • len

        For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–(Ephesians 2:8)

        You cannot be saved by works…

        • Albert

          You cannot be saved by works…

          And yet, scripture says You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

          and

          What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
          Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

          So it’s no good just parroting scripture as Satan does in the Temptations. We have to ask what is meant in Ephesians when it says For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Now it cannot mean the Evangelical doctrine, in which works play no part, for then we have to deny other parts of scripture, and if we do that, we may as well deny Ephesians 2. But it is perfectly possible to reconcile the passages: we say that salvation is a gift of God. Christ is a gift of God, grace is a gift of God, these things are given to us, not on account of good works done by us lest any man should boast. However, having been given to us, they bear fruit in us, and without that real change in us, there is no salvation.

          • len

            Getting ‘saved’ and’ being justified’ are not the same thing Albert surely you know that?.

          • Albert

            I absolutely believe that. It’s you Evangelicals that confuse the two.

          • len

            Scriptures Albert, search them to find the truth that will set you free.Also don`t believe what people tell you do as the Bereans did and find out for yourself…

            All scripture points to Christ who IS Truth and only He can set people free.

          • Albert

            Also don`t believe what people tell you do as the Bereans did and find out for yourself…

            You want me to doubt the apostolic proclamation, until I can prove it from the OT?

          • len

            Not sure where you got that from Albert?

          • Albert

            What was the point of your comment, Len?

          • len

            Man is so deceived and so corrupted by the power of sin that it is impossible for man to save himself.IF there were ANY way for man to save himself God would not have had to come Himself to the Cross at Calvary.
            So quite obviously works(however good ) are NEVER going to be good enough.
            So God by Grace Gives His Faith to man so that man can believe.

            Galatians 5:22-23King James Version (KJV) ‘
            22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
            23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

            ‘Justification’ is a legal act, wherein God deems the sinner righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness a different matter altogether.

          • Albert

            You miss entirely the biblical teaching about the good works God can do in us by grace received through faith. Or do you limit God’s power?

          • len

            Chicken egg Albert…which came first….

          • Albert

            Grace. But that does not mean your doctrine is correct.

          • len

            Believe what?

          • Albert

            That Getting ‘saved’ and’ being justified’ are not the same thing

        • Dominic Stockford

          We cannot be saved by works for we are dead in our sin – and dead men can do nothing. Except ‘stinketh’.

  • Albert

    When I became a Catholic I realised that lots of these things that Anglicans had clung on to as symbols of recognition of authority, weren’t intended as such by Catholics. Paul VI gave Michael Ramsey his episcopal ring, but the Church still taught Anglican orders are in valid. Francis bows before a blessing Anglican, but appears not to be crossing himself, as he would if he thought Justin was a priest. (Francis also used to allow himself to be blessed at Pentecostal charismatic events, but he did not thereby indicate recognition of orders.)

    If Francis really recognised Justin’s jurisdiction in this act, then he would necessarily be imposing his own jurisdiction on Justin as subordinate to the Church of Rome, since it is de fide for Catholics that the Pope has full, ordinary jurisdiction over the entire Church. Now I don’t think any of this is what was meant. What was more likely to be meant, is that the grace truly given through the sacraments (valid and invalid) of our separated brethren is ordered towards unity with the Catholic Church.

    So it plainly wasn’t a Magisterial act, since, it is unclear what was being taught, but what is clear is that it wasn’t what Dr C thinks.

    • The Catholic Church recognises the validity of the sacrament of Baptism by other Christian churches (if the correct form is used). This is what constitutes brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ.

      Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism, affirms that while the separated Christian brethren have elements of truth, God’s will is that they all come to the completeness found only in Catholicism:

      “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone . . . that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic College alone, of which Peter is the head . . . that we believe the Lord entrusted all the benefits of the New Covenant in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ, into which all those who already in some way belong to the people of God ought to be fully incorporated.”

      In 2007, the CDF restated this and “Dominus Iesus” (2000) reaffirmed the definitive nature of . the Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae. Protestant “ecclesial communities….cannot be called ‘Churches’ in the proper sense as these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element [the Eucharist] of the Church.”

      Officially the Catholic Church does not recognise the validity of Anglican ordinations – male, let alone female – considering them to be “absolutely null and utterly void” and, for this reason, does not consider the Church of England to be a “Church” because it lacks a priesthood and therefore the Eucharist.

      The 39 Articles remain the doctrinal foundation of the Church of England and are contrary to the doctrines of the Catholic Church. The “Anglican Communion” is another matter. As Jack understands it, each of the 44 member churches in the Anglican Communion is free to adopt and authorise its own documents. The only doctrinal documents agreed upon are the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed of AD 381, and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Besides these documents, authorised liturgical formularies, such as Prayer Book and Ordinal, are normative. However, no specific edition of the Prayer Book is binding for the entire Communion.

      Then there’s the issue of there being no one Episcopalian eucharistic doctrine but a wide range of theology and practice. Most Anglicans will say they believe in the “real presence”. However, some will deny His bodily presence. Others hold a theory that is similar to Martin Luther’s sacramental union, or consubstantiation, in which Christ’s real presence in the bread and wine is limited to the time of the celebration.

      High Church Anglicans hold doctrines close to Catholic teaching. These Episcopalians have similar liturgies to Catholics. Indeed, it is more Roman Catholic than many Masses celebrated at Catholic Churches. They reserve communion bread and have benediction. In doing so, they do not feel bound by Article 28 of the Anglican 39 Articles which state that “The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.”

      • Terry Mushroom

        There is also the interesting matter of Mary whom Catholics say is the Mother of the Church.

        • A title first used in the 4th century by Saint Ambrose of Milan. Pope John Paul II stated that the title indicates the Blessed Virgin Mary’s maternity of Christ’s faithful, as deriving from her maternity of Christ: “Mary is present in the Church as the Mother of Christ, and at the same time as that Mother whom Christ, in the mystery of the Redemption, gave to humanity in the person of the Apostle John (John 19:27. Thus, in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church.”

          • len

            Cobblers

          • One has come to expect no more from you. Are you a Millwall supporter by any chance?

          • len

            Might surprise you Jack but I don`t support any football team .

          • Old Nick

            What is a football team ?

          • len

            Precisely..

          • Dominic Stockford

            A means of losing money, for its owners, for its supporters, but not for the bookies….

          • Anton

            Or above all the TV companies.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Blunt, and accurate.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Quote?

          • By reason of the gift and role of her divine motherhood, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with her unique graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united to the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ.[18]
            18. S. Ambrosius, Expos. Lc. II, 7: PL 15, 1555.]

            http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

            The use of the Mater Ecclesiae title to the Virgin Mary goes back to Ambrose of Milan in the 4th century, but this was not known until its 1944 rediscovery by Hugo Rahner.[1][2]

            [1] International Theological Commission, Vol II: 1986-2007 edited by Michael Sharkey and Thomas Weinandy (Aug 21, 2009) ISBN 1586172263 page 208
            [2] Hugo Rahner, “Mater Ecclesia – Lobpreis der Kirche aus dem ersten Jahrtausend”, Einsiedeln/Köln 1944

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_of_the_Church

            According to St Irenaeus, Mary “became a cause of salvation for the whole human race” (Haer. 3, 22, 4; PG 7, 959), and the pure womb of the Virgin “regenerates men in God” (Haer. 4, 33, 11; PG 7, 1080).

            This is re-echoed by St Ambrose, who says: “A Virgin has begotten the salvation of the world, a Virgin has given life to all things” (Ep. 63, 33; PL 16, 1198), and by other Fathers who call Mary “Mother of salvation” (Severian of Gabala, Or. 6 in mundi creationem, 10, PG 54, 4; Faustus of Riez, Max. Bibl. Patrum, VI. 620-621).

            In the Middle Ages, St Anselm addressed Mary in this way: “You are the mother of justification and of the justified, the Mother of reconciliation and of the reconciled, the mother of salvation and of the saved.” (Or. 52, 8; PL 158, 957)

            https://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2bvm63.htm

            Mary as Mother of the Church

            Since Christ is Head of his Mystical Body, the Church, it follows that Mary, mother of Christ, is also mother of that body. As we have seen, the early Church Fathers called Mary the new Eve, in that as Eve was our mother by physical generation, so Mary is our mother by spiritual regeneration, in virtue of her Divine Son’s redemption of humanity. In the second century, St. Irenaeus commented that “the Word will become flesh, and the Son of God the son of man—the Pure One opening purely that pure womb, which generates men unto God.” St. Epiphanius remarked, “True it is . . . the whole race of man upon earth was born of Eve; but in reality it is from Mary that Life was truly born to the world, so that by giving birth to the Living One, Mary might also become the Mother of all the living.” St. Augustine summarized, “The Mother of the Head, in bearing Him corporally became spiritually the Mother of all members of this Divine Head.”

            With regard to Mary’s intercessory role on behalf of the members of the Body of Christ, St. Irenaeus remarked, “He who is devout to the Virgin Mother will certainly never be lost.” St. Augustine addresses Mary, “Through you do the miserable obtain mercy, the ungracious grace, and the weak strength.” St. Jerome wrote, “Mary not only comes to us when called, but even spontaneously advances to meet us.” St. Basil the Great (379 A.D.), bishop of Caesarea, declared, “God has ordained that she should assist us in everything!” St. John Damascene prayed, “O Mother of God, if I place my confidence in you, I shall be saved. If I am under your protection, I have nothing to fear, for the fact of being your client is the possession of a certainty of salvation, which God grants only to those whom He intends to save.” St. Ephraem beseeches Mary, “O Lady, cease not to watch over us; preserve and guard us under the wings of your compassion and mercy, for, after God, we have no hope but in you!” St. Fulgentius (533 A.D.), bishop of Ruspe, stated, “Mary is the ladder of heaven; for by Mary God descended from Heaven into the world, that by her men might ascend from earth to Heaven.” Pope St. Leo the Great (461 A.D.) observed, “Mary is so endued with feelings of compassion, that she not only deserves to be called merciful, but even mercy itself.”

            https://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2bvm63.htm

          • Martin

            HJ

            Sorry for the delay in replying, I needed to find the time to examine the quote from Irenaeus.

            Anything 4th century onward is likely to be tainted with error. After all, there was plenty of error even in the time of the apostles. Irenaeus is clearly speaking of Mary carrying Jesus in obedience, not of any merit on Mary’s part. There is no Scriptural basis for calling Mary the ‘mother of the Church’

        • len

          The ‘Mary ‘of the RCC certainly wasn`t the mother of Jesus .

          • Terry Mushroom

            You’ve got to do better than that one liner.

          • len

            Cannot better the truth…

          • len

            There is so much evidence that ‘the mary ‘of the RCC is a fake that I am surprised that any rational person could still believe in her.But I suppose if Catholics reject the truth God will give them a strong delusion that they WILL believe the lie..

            Jeremiah 7:18, “The
            children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their
            dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to
            pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.”

      • len

        You talk the talk but do not walk the walk.
        You speak in Christian terms but with an entirely different meaning ‘spin’ I believe it is called

        • But how would you know?

          • len

            By what you say Jack.You must know that much of what you say isn’t scriptural but you keep promoting it regardless.I suppose the fact is that you are stuck with the RCC because if you deviate from their dogma then you (in your mind at least) will lose your salvation.

            So you are bound to the RCC.Christ sets people free He doen`t bind them up with religion.

    • len

      I cannot believe anyone would’ choose’ to be a Catholic, I thought you had to be born into it like Islam?. But Islam and Catholicism have one thing in common there is a death sentence on all who choose to leave. Physical death with Islam and’ supposed’ spiritual death and to be tortured in hell for Catholics….Bad news for Muslims but many are converting to Christ and Catholics are only held in Catholicism by fear and deception….Break those chains and let Christ set you free!…

      • Albert

        I feel much the same way about Protestantism. Even compared with standard heresies, your solas are pretty unconvincing.

        • len

          You either accept the Word of God or go the way of the RCC (which is making it up as you go?)

          • Albert

            You are unable to interpret it.

          • Anton

            It is only very rarely that the job of the Holy Spirit is to *interpret* scripture. Mainly the Spirit’s task is to bring it alive.

          • len

            Scripture itself has been so misused, so twisted, that an honest truthful and trustworthy guide is needed to help discern meanings of scripture.’But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the
            truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears,
            and he will tell you what is yet to come.'(John 16;13 )

            The RCC Magisterium is no help at all interpreting scripture because it puts RCC spin on all scriptures.

            Most Christians on the blog know this already but there may be silent viewers who do not know this as you have said.

    • Dominic Stockford

      “Francis bows before a blessing Anglican, but appears not to be crossing himself, as he would if he thought Justin was a priest.”

      You’ve made that up out of your own mind. Romans do no such thing.

      • Albert

        You’re kidding me. You think I invented the idea of crossing yourself when receiving a blessing? Try here:

        Begin watching at 30.10. or here:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtJ_U5MYJdw Begin at 14.30.

      • Anton

        Albert might be right in his response immediately below but honestly, who cares? Didn’t we come out from legalism?

        • Albert

          That complaint is surely made to Dr C in the first instance, since it was his claim I was rejecting.

          • Anton

            And also with you!

  • chefofsinners

    “By hook or by crook, I’ll bring you to book.” – Pope Francis

    Even as we escape the treaty of Rome, there are those who would yoke us again to that corrupt, idolatrous spirit of antichrist. See how he masquerades as an angel of light, but preaches a false gospel which is no gospel at all.

    • len

      Well said!

    • bluedog

      Good point, CofS. One wonders what the result would be if all those confirmed into the CofE were permitted to vote on reunion with the Roman Church. This communicant predicts a more emphatic outcome than in the Brexit vote.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    That lamb is a ram, surely? I see horns…

    • Inspector General

      The Inspector was bothered by a ram a few years ago, whilst walking in a field in Gloucestershire, Mrs Proudie. The only way the beast would desist was by the your man escaping towards the stream at the bottom, a heading of 180 degrees away from his ewes. Whereupon he was up to a foot in liquid mud before even reaching the water watercourse. No doubt the damn thing laughed its head off resulting…

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Goodness! Could have been nasty!

        • Inspector General

          It happened a mile north of Standish village. Weeks later, the Inspector related the tale to an uninterested yokel at a pub in the Slad valley, only to be asked whether he was wearing the same rucksack as he had with him then. On giving the affirmative, said yokel then explained the ram was probably expecting a feed from the sack, and was most annoyed when it was not forthcoming. Farming practice, apparently…

          • Dominic Stockford

            We learn something new every day…
            Sometimes too late to be of use though.

      • Anton

        I think it’s quite funny myself. Glad you were unharmed.

    • len

      Definitely an old goat

  • Anton

    they commissioned 19 pairs of Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops (all male) to return to their home countries and work together, pray together and proclaim the Gospel of Christ together

    But not to study the scriptures together. Far too dangerous…

    • len

      The Word divides truth from error and the RCC will not allow anyone but their hierarchy to decide what’ truth’ is.
      I remember in a film I saw recently a corrupt politician was questioned about corruption and lying and his answer?..”The truth is whatever I say it is!.” (As with the Roman Church)

      • Mike Stallard

        Richard Dawkins dismisses God.
        Guess who takes God’s place?
        len dismisses the Church.

        • len

          Illogical..Try again?

        • Martin

          Mike

          The Church is the congregation of God’s people, not an authority or hierarchy.

  • Anton

    As I recall, Apostolicae Curae elicited an Anglican response (in Latin) that pointedly corrected its Latin. As for its theology, both sides are right in saying that the ordination of the other is defective. We’re ALL priests already according to a letter written by St Peter himself.

    • len

      The Apostle Peter would be horrified to see what the RCC has done to his testimony as it must grieve Mary Mother of Jesus to the RCC has elevated her to…

      • Albert

        Says you.

        • len

          Scriptures Albert, Scriptures, a good way(the only way ) to discern truth.
          Peter himself says Jesus is’ the Rock’…Not Peter or he Peter would have said so.

          Where in scripture is the Mary of the RCC? . Non existent.

          Don`t believe what I say but it is quite easy to check out the truth with scripture.That’s why God gave it to us.

          • Albert

            Len, if you really think, after all our discussions, that I have not read the scriptures, you are fool. You confuse your own interpretations with that of the meaning of scripture.

          • len

            I suspect you have read some scriptures Albert but did you learn anything ?

          • Albert

            Well, I don’t feel that I have come off the worst in our exchanges Len. Perhaps the problem is that you are forced to see what your Evanglical tradition tells you to see.

          • Anton

            Whether or not you have been bettered, you obviously couldn’t allow yourself to accept it. Evangelical tradition is willing to subject itself to scripture; Catholic tradition isn’t, which is why it has deviated from it.

          • Albert

            Evangelical tradition is willing to subject itself to scripture

            I don’t think you get that it really look that way to everyone who isn’t an Evangelical. I don’t think Evangelicalism is faithful to scripture. It’s not because I am a Catholic that I think that – I thought that long before I became a Catholic or thought as one. Sola fide and sola scriptura simply do not look like plausible interpretations of scripture. I can see the attraction from a personal point of view, and I can see how it fits into a particular tradition, but that is not at all the same thing as being scriptural.

            Catholic tradition has not deviated from scripture, it has simply, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, developed our understanding of the realities we received once for all through the apostles, the realities which are witnessed to in scripture and which, by that same Spirit remain present in the mind of the Church.

            Now your post is obviously self-contradictory. For on the one hand, you I couldn’t accept that I had been bettered (an mean judgement on my character), but at the same time you say Catholic tradition does not subject itself to scripture. Evidently then, if what you say is true (which it isn’t), I can fully accept I am wrong on scripture, and not worry about it, because (according to you) I am not subject to scripture.

            Thus your position makes no sense either of the evidence or of logic.

          • Anton

            Your usual trite rhetorical trick. I’ve better things to do than untangle it.

            I know you don’t believe evangelicalism is faithful to scripture. That’s not the point. In some protestant denominations, I’d agree. The point is that it is willing to subject itself to scripture.

          • Albert

            Your usual trite rhetorical trick. I’ve better things to do than untangle it.

            Your usual trite rhetorical trick of saying I’ve played a tick, but then not saying what the trick is I’ve played. Thus it appears you have made a critique when you haven’t. That’s what you always do.

            The point is that it is willing to subject itself to scripture.

            That’s just not true. No amount of biblical evidence will convince an Evangelical that the solas are not true.

          • Anton

            Re rhetoric, I’m content for the reader to decide.

            Re sola, one would hope it was rather obvious that the word of the God who created the man is more authoritative than the word of his creation.

          • Albert

            Re rhetoric, I’m content for the reader to decide.

            You still use that? You are very sure that the reader is like you. Actually, any reader can see you have not critiqued my position – you’ve even said so.

            Re sola, one would hope it was rather obvious that the word of the God who created the man is more authoritative than the word of his creation.

            It is rather obvious that your comment shows you do not understand the Catholic teaching you reject, then, neither have you understood the Catholic critique of the Evangelical tradition on this point.

          • Anton

            There is no alternative to appeal to the reader when you run into denial and obfuscation.

            As I do regarding the solas, too. I might not be familiar with Rome’s legalistic small print but I reckon I understand the basis of its position well enough. I don’t mind if you disagree.

          • Albert

            I haven’t denied anything. You didn’t give an argument!

            It’s not a question of small print. If you seriously think that we think the word of a creature is more authoritative than the word of the creator, you’ve misunderstood the entire doctrine. I know you doctrines. Why don’t you bother to mine?

          • Anton

            The scriptures are agreed by you and me to be the inerrant word of God to all of his people. What else can match that for authority, and why?

          • Albert

            The word of God preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, because the word of God is equal to the word of God and the Holy Spirit is consubstantial with the Father and the Son.

          • Anton

            Examples (additional to scripture) that are relevant to all of God’s people today?

          • Albert

            That the Son is consubstantial with the Father. That we should worship on Sunday. That polygamy is wrong. That the canon contains the books that it does.

          • Anton

            Consubstantial is a word that takes the faith out of the lives of normal people and puts it in the academy, causing the people to think that they are second class believers which is gravely mistaken. Isaiah says explicitly that a child will be born who is God – Isaiah would mean only Jehovah – while all Christians understand this child to be Jesus of Nazareth. That is all you have, and all you need.

            No polygamy – see 1 Cor 7:2.

            Sunday worship – No! it’s not in the NT and if you tie the church to specific times and days then Christians become sitting ducks in places like North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Please think of the church beyond our currently cozy culture!

          • Albert

            Consubstantial is a word that takes the faith out of the lives of normal people and puts it in the academy, causing the people to think that they are second class believers which is gravely mistaken.

            It’s not the word, but the reality to which it points = the full and equal divinity of the Son with the Father. The fact is that there was argument about it, because it is possible to read scripture in such a way as to indicate the Son isn’t consubstantial with the Father. You insult normal people’s faith if you think they cannot understand the term when it is explained to them. Which passage of Isaiah do you refer to?

            1 Cor.7.2: But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. It doesn’t say a man cannot have more than one wife, it just say that he shouldn’t have sex with a woman not his wife. We can find the same language in the OT about men having sex with their wife, even though they are polygamous. Luther permitted polygamy, or seemed to, so it can’t be that clear.

            Please think of the church beyond our currently cozy culture!

            Is it because you are ignorant or contemptuous of Church history that you write such silly stuff? The idea of Sunday worship comes from the period in the ancient Church when Christians were persecuted for their faith. Was it somehow cosier to killed for your faith in the Second Century? In any case, as for special days, which day is meant in Revelation 1.10?

            I note with interest that you have not replied to my example about the canon of scripture.

            With the exception of the last one, I am by no means meaning to imply what the Church teaches is not scriptural, only that scripture is not clear on these matters. It matters not one iota: the reality of which scripture speaks is made present in the Church by the Holy Spirit, so that we have the mind of Christ.

          • Anton

            You aren’t familiar with Isaiah 9:6?

            For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

            It is sung often each year in Handel’s Messiah. Who needs the word “consubstantial” and all that associated Aristotelian baggage when you have the simple fact that this child (Jesus) is God, the Father?

            The command to keep the Sabbath holy is the one of the decalogue that Jesus did not repeat to his followers. Therefore it is part of ancient Israel’s law that does not carry over. And it is not hard to see why: in some regimes there is not a day of rest every 7 days. God *does* want his people to be willing to be martyred for 1:1 evangelism of pagan/communist people, but if He had commanded that Christians effectively go on strike every seven days in places like North Korea then all committed Christians would be identified and shot within 8 days. It is good for believers to meet regularly but there is no command exactly when or how often; nor should the church impose any.

            There is no authority involved in recognising what writings are canonical and what writings are not. This is simply a matter of recognition of when God is speaking.

          • Albert

            Is it really like that I am unfamiliar with that passage? The problem with Isaiah is firstly, that Arians point out that the Son isn’t God the Father, and that it speaks of him as Mighty God, not almighty God. The reason that you need all that “baggage” is that the Arian interpretation is not confessing the divinity of Christ and so you need a language to challenge them.

            I think your comment about Sundays confuses a situation in which Christians are not free with a situation in which they are free. It is the latter that I am thinking of, and I note that most Christians agree with me.

            There is no authority involved in recognising what writings are canonical and what writings are not. This is simply a matter of recognition of when God is speaking.

            I think that is self-deception. There is no way that an individual can recognize all those passages as God’s speech.

            You haven’t provided a good explanation of monogamy.

            The issue here is not whether your position is biblical, but how you convince someone who misinterprets scripture.

          • Anton

            The best response to the Arians is to explain that when Isaiah speaks of God he can be presumed to be referring to the God of Israel, who is the omnipotent creator of all things. Isaiah is not speaking about paganism/idolatry in this passage.

            I am aware from discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses that they seek to draw a distinction between “mighty” and “almighty” God; this distinction is present in the Hebrew but the word “mighty”, which Isaiah uses, is also applied to Jehovah in the OT. This is a subsidiary point, though. The strongest reply to Arians is as I have said in the preceding paragraph. This is the point which those Jehovah’s Witnesses had no reply to and sought to divert from. When they knock on your door, try giving them a short Aristotelian talk on substance, accident and essence, and tell us here how helpful or otherwise it proves to be.

            your comment about Sundays confuses a situation in which Christians are not free with a situation in which they are free. It is the latter that I am thinking of

            Only now have you said that, so it is improper to say I am confusing anything. In a culture having a weekly national day of rest and in which Christians are not persecuted it is the obvious day to meet. But tell me, suppose some culture instituted a day of rest every 9 days (rather than 7) and didn’t persecute Christians – in such a culture, should we gather every 7 days in the evening or every 9 days on the local rest day?

            Of course I agree that it is the collective of Christians, ie the church, that decides which writings are canonical and which writings are not. But what has that to do with “authority”?

            What do you mean about monogamy? Each man should have “his wife”, not “his wives” according to Paul.

            The issue here is not whether your position is biblical, but how you convince someone who misinterprets scripture.

            The issue here is how you treat people who disagree with you – subject them to civil penalties for their alleged heresy; throw them out of your congregation; agree to disagree. My answer is never the first of these, and whether the second or third depends on the issue. I’d throw Arians out but accept people having different understandings of (say) the Book of Revelation.

          • Albert

            The best response to the Arians is to explain that when Isaiah speaks of God he can be presumed to be referring to the God of Israel, who is the omnipotent creator of all things. Isaiah is not speaking about idolatry/false gods in this passage.

            Yes, but the title “Son of God” and variants does not prove divine Sonship, since it is usually used in the OT of the king who is not divine.

            The strongest reply to Arians is as I have said in the preceding paragraph.

            Which is to say that, from a sola scriptura point of view, not very strong.

            When they knock on your door, try giving them a short Aristotelian talk on substance, accident and essence, and tell us here how helpful or otherwise it proves to be in dealing with Arians.

            I don’t think you understand how the development of doctrine works. A word is taken from Greek philosophy to express the faith of the Church. I would not for a moment attempt to convince an Arian by using a word like that. I might, at most, use the word to explain what is meant by the relationship between the Father and the Son, but expressing it is not at all the same thing as proving it. My point is this: if an Arian knows the scriptures, and remains an Arian (and I can argue the texts in an Arian way), then there is nothing you do on sola scriptura. But that is because we were never expected to try to work the Trinity out from scripture alone (as if anyone could do that).

            Only now have you said that! So it is improper to say I am confusing anything.

            You are trying to draw a general rule from a hard case, and that is the wrong way to do it.

            But tell me, suppose some culture instituted a day of rest every 9 days (rather than 7) and didn’t persecute Christians – in such a culture, should we gather every 7 days, in the evening, or every 9 days on the local rest day?

            Every 7th day.

            I agree, of course, that it is the collective of Christians, ie the church, that decides which writings are canonical and which writings are not. But what has that to do with “authority” with which Catholics appear to be obsessed?

            The Church does not grant scripture authority. However, the Church is authorised to declare which writings have God’s authority.

            Each man should have “his wife”, not “his wives” according to Paul.

            Yes, but in 2 Sam.12, although David is spoken of having many wives, nevertheless, scripture also speaks in the singular of “his wife”. Thus the language of singular is consistent with plurality of wives. Now Paul is talking about not having sex with someone else’s wife, but only with his own wife (cf. 2 Sam 12.10).

            The issue here is how you treat people who disagree with you – subject them to civil penalties for their alleged heresy; throw them out of your congregation; agree to disagree. My answer is never the first of these, and whether the second or third depends on the issue. I’d throw Arians out but accept people having different understandings of (say) the Book of Revelation.

            The issue is not about throwing people out but how we know the truth. As you for you deciding whom to throw out, who made you judge of your brother? and since you have no way of knowing which position is true or not, it would appear that no one has.

          • Anton

            but the title “Son of God” and variants does not prove divine Sonship

            So what? Isaiah does not use that phrase. The point is this: Isaiah says that a child will be born who is God (adjectives such a [al]mighty are ultimately irrelevant); Isaiah’s view of who God is, is the God of Israel, the Creator. To anybody who believes that Isaiah is a true prophet and that the child is Jesus of Nazareth, that is that. At this point Arians can – and do, I assure you – wriggle, but their arguments have no force and it is not hard to find and put a question to which they have no answer.

            Scripture is explicit that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all fully divine yet not identical. The Trinity is right there. What isn’t there is HOW God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and needless schisms between committed Trinitarian Christians have occurred because of the hubristic desire to go beyond, ie add to, holy scripture.

            Every 7th day.

            OK. I’d go for every 9th in that culture. Now, you might ask me: what if there is a rest day only every 20 days; isn’t that too long between church meetings? I’d agree it was, too. The point is that there is no command about this in the NT, and I suggest that that is because of the diversity of cultural situations in which the church is liable to find itself.

            I appreciate your pushing me about monogamy. I don’t accept your comparison with 2 Samuel 12 where Bathsheba is referred to as David’s “wife”. Paul says that each man has HIS OWN wife and vice-versa. Here, moreover, are some further points: God made one woman for one man before the fall; boys and girls are conceived in equal numbers; although polygamy was permitted in ancient Israel the Bible does not have a good word to say about it anywhere. Remember also that the gospel is designed to be preached in cultures that might be polytheistic.

            The issue is not about throwing people out but how we know the truth. As you for you deciding whom to throw out, who made you judge of your brother? and since you have no way of knowing which position is true or not, it would appear that no one has.

            You are tacitly assuming that scripture is so flexible as to be capable of any meaning. Yet if that were the case it would have no meaning. I trust you don’t believe that…?

          • Albert

            The point is this: Isaiah says that a child will be born who is God (adjectives such a [al]mighty are ultimately irrelevant); Isaiah’s view of who God is, is the God of Israel, the Creator.

            No that’s not what he says. He says a child shall have these names. But lots of people have names in the OT which do not describe their nature, but show what God may do through them. Gamaliel means “benefit of God”, but what does that mean about the man? Joab means “YHWH is father”, but he is not the Son of God. Manasseh means “causing to forget”, but that does not mean he is brain virus. And then there are all those names in Hosea?

            Scripture is explicit that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all fully divine yet not identical. The Trinity is right there. What isn’t there is HOW God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and needless schisms between committed Trinitarian Christians have occurred because of the hubristic desire to go beyond, ie add to, holy scripture.

            I think it is very easy to challenge the first claim. The second claim just confirms my feeling you don’t know how doctrine develops. People are not trying to explain the Trinity, they are simply trying to prevent erroneous views of the relationship between the Persons (e.g. subordinationism).

            The point is that there is no command about this in the NT, and I suggest that that is because of the diversity of cultural situations in which the church is liable to find itself.

            May be, or may it is because the Sunday worship element was simply the practice of the apostles, one of those traditions or “do as I do” things Paul speaks of.

            Paul says that each man has HIS OWN wife and vice-versa.

            But that cannot be taken in a purely univocal sense, since clearly, some men do not have wives.

            boys and girls are conceived in equal numbers

            Yes, but after a war, men may be in short supply.

            although polygamy was permitted in ancient Israel the Bible does not have a good word to say about it anywhere. Remember also that the gospel is designed to be preached in cultures that might be polytheistic.

            Fine – but it does not ban it. Would you accept it in a culture where a polytheistic culture resisted monogamy.

            You are tacitly assuming that scripture is so flexible as to be capable of any meaning.

            No, I am saying that human readers are such that they are capable of arguing more or less anything from it. I believe the meanings intended by God are limited.

          • Anton

            lots of people have names in the OT which do not describe their nature, but show what God may do through them

            Yes indeed, but none of them is named as “God”. The names of the men you have in mind are all reminders of an attribute or an action of God. Not in this case.

            The second claim just confirms my feeling you don’t know how doctrine develops. People are not trying to explain the Trinity, they are simply trying to prevent erroneous views of the relationship between the Persons (e.g. subordinationism).

            What you call “development of doctrine” I call a distortion of biblical faith that gives undue influence to the knowledgeable rather than the wise. Read the second half of 1 Corinthians 1 about that. You cannot subordinate God to himself.

            Would you accept it in a culture where a polytheistic culture resisted monogamy?

            Christians are called out FROM the prevailing culture. I suggest that in a polygamous culture a man who has several wives and comes to faith should continue to live (and sleep) with them – they need financial support and have the right to fulfilment in childbearing – but he should not marry any more unless all of them have died (and he must thereafter be monogamous).

            I agree that men are in short supply after a war. Girls are in short supply in lands that preferentially expose them. It’s a fallen world. But girls and boys are conceived and (before pre-natal sexing and systematic abortion) born in similar numbers, which is a deafening divine hint to add to the scriptural arguments I have set out. Regarding 1 Cor 7:2-5, it’s time to look at the Greek original. Paul actually says, “Let each man have his own woman, and each woman her own man.” That’s advocacy, not compulsion or prophecy.

            I am saying that human readers are such that they are capable of arguing more or less anything from it. I believe the meanings intended by God are limited.

            We agree about the limits. Where Christians deviate from scripture, however, they don’t generally try to justify it from scripture. They typically avoid such debate, or duck out when the going gets rough.

          • Albert

            Yes indeed, but none of them is named as “God”. The names of the men you have in mind are all reminders of an attribute or an action of God. Not in this case.

            That’s not true of the names in Hosea. Certainly they don’t name a person God, but they aren’t forsaken themselves either. In any case, there are still two problems. The first problem is translation: “Mighty God” can mean “in battle God-like”, so no reference to the person being divine, only to his being successful in war. This means the name is exactly what you concede is not an attribution of divinity. Secondly, in Israel, as we know, the accession day of a king is regarded as a day on which a king becomes God’s son by adoption. So it makes sense that this prophecy does not indicate the second person of the Trinity, but rather an unprecedentedly successful king, that is, one with whom God is present in a special way. So by attempting to see the passage in its historical context, we are not being taught about the divinity of Christ.

            What you call “development of doctrine” I call a distortion of biblical faith that gives undue influence to the knowledgeable rather than the wise.

            So when the Church finds a way of saying that the Son of God is not a creature, you think that is a distortion of biblical faith?

            You cannot subordinate God to himself.

            Precisely, so those who did/do so deny the divinity of Christ. But the key thing is that there are several passages which seem to support this move.

            Christians are called out FROM the prevailing culture.

            Just a moment. You’ve been arguing about how Christians should behave in a culture in which it is not possible to worship on a Sunday.

            I suggest that in a polygamous culture a man who has several wives and comes to faith should continue to live (and sleep) with them – they need financial support and have the right to fulfilment in childbearing – but he should not marry any more unless all of them have died (and he must thereafter be monogamous).

            And thereby you show that monogamy is not clearly taught in scripture as the only way. That’s my point. But notice that what you have done is itself a development of doctrine, possibly an accommodation with the culture. Now how do you know that your move here is legitimate?

            I agree that men are in short supply after a war. Girls are in short supply in lands that preferentially expose them. It’s a fallen world. But girls and boys are conceived and (before pre-natal sexing and systematic abortion) born in similar numbers, which is a deafening divine hint to add to the scriptural arguments I have set out.

            A deafening hint? It’s not particularly deafening since, as your comment indicates, it only applies in some places and some times. And why shouldn’t the evidence be read differently: in a culture in which there are not enough men and women cannot survive by themselves, love of neighbour requires polygamy? But the scriptural arguments are not conclusive – in fact, I don’t think they are convincing. The key point is not to convince me, I mean, but whether an individual armed with nothing but the Bible would work all this out.

            Regarding 1 Cor 7:2-5, it’s time to look at the Greek original. Paul actually says, “Let each man have his own woman, and each woman her own man.” That’s advocacy, not compulsion or prophecy.

            And so your scriptural argument for monogamy is even weaker. Paul advocates this, as he advocates remaining single. There’s no require then.

            Where Christians deviate from scripture, however, they don’t generally try to justify it from scripture. They typically avoid such debate, or duck out when the going gets rough.

            The trouble is that comment is in the eye of the beholder. We would both say that is true of liberals. You would say it is true of Catholics (and we would disagree) but we think it is true of Evangelicals (and you would disagree).

          • Anton

            All through this reply you are tying yourself in knots, not me. I’ll leave it there, and to the reader. Feel free to anoint yourself the victor in your own mirror.

          • Albert

            Why do you even bother, if you are just going to keep using such cheap and obvious rhetorical tricks? Is my translation of the Hebrew you don’t like? My references to other scriptural passages? or the fact that your arguments work against your own position?

            I guess I’ll never know – but I’m quite sure that every reader will agree with you and feel entirely enlightened by your comments.

          • Anton

            Can you not see how your style of rhetoric when pressed turns to obfuscation? If not, I am unable to explain it to you.

          • Albert

            It’s a bit of an own goal to claim that you had pressed me, when any reader can see you had not.

            Apart from the typo, I cannot see how my post is unclear. You do realise that saying I am guilty of obfuscation is not the same thing as me being guilty of obfuscation? And even if you think I am, it might just be that you are not capable of following the argument.

          • Anton

            We’re both appealing to readers now. That’ll do.

          • Albert

            I was being ironic.

          • Anton

            PS Interesting question re the day mentioned in Rev 1:10. In AD96 Domitian demanded that on a given day each year all Roman citizens must burn incense to the emperor and make the declaration that “Caesar is Lord”. Perhaps it was for refusing to do this that John was exiled to Patmos, for he says in the preceding verse that he was there because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. That day was known throughout the Empire as the “lordly day”, where “lordly” is an adjective. This matches John’s phrase; he does not say it is “the lord’s day” ie “the day of the lord”. That he uses the definite article suggests he means this day rather than a regular sabbath, which would hardly stand out. This argument is not decisive but it is certainly suggestive, and it suffices to show that you may not take it to refer to the sabbath with any certainty.

          • Albert

            It makes no difference. Most Christians think we do not need to keep Saturday, but should keep Sunday. You may be more consistent than they are in not thinking that. Or it may be that since the evidence is “not decisive” you’ve been led astray. Most of your co-religionists would think so.

          • Anton

            Despite a good deal of Catholic nonsense (exchanges passim) you and I are co-religionists.

          • Albert

            Yes – but I’m surprised you think so.

          • Anton

            Always remember that, when you dispute here with the minority of His Grace’s Catholic regulars who use spoiling tactics, you are nevertheless doing good work that will be visible to by many third party readers.

          • len

            All the worlds a stage…..

          • Old Nick

            Where in scripture is the Mary of the RCC?
            At the Annunciation, in the stable at Bethlehem, in the Temple, at the Cross and quite plausibly in the Book of Revelation – to name but a few. I recommend the Angelus, a most focussing devotion.

          • len

            Angelus in the Bible somewhere?

          • Old Nick

            Try Luke 1

          • len

            The Mary of the RCC is a contrived creature more akin to a pagan Goddess than anything else.You Catholics are either completely deceived or are being deliberately untruthful.Either option is not good.

  • len

    Get out of the portals of the RCC Welby before your garments are singed and your crozier goes up in flames and keep well away!.

    • Mike Stallard

      You are just about 200 years behind the times…

      • len

        We could go back a lot further…Still right !.

        • Mike Stallard

          …or very wrong!

          • len

            You still digging that hole?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Too late I fear. His compromises on so many issues demonstrate he really cannot properly understand the Gospel.

  • Mike Stallard

    Catholic Priests are all men. That means they talk and socialise among themselves as men and they stay in each other’s houses without scandal. Add women to the mix and you get a totally different relationship. If the priests are married, that usually means the addition of children and that, too, changes the game entirely. In the parishes, women run the presbytery. They do the office, the catering, the flowers, the social committee, the reading list, the serving and a lot besides that too. They love “Father” in a very different way to the way in which Anglicans treat “the Vicar”. The priest is a loved (and tolerated) man in a largely female environment.
    So stop being clever. Anglican and Catholic priests are very different socially. And that is a crucial difference. But, at least where I live, they seem to get on perfectly well with each other and maybe that is what the Pope and the Archbishop were trying to say?

    • Oisín mac Fionn

      … they stay in each other’s houses without scandal.

      Either you’re being deliberately ironic or you really are 200 years behind the times.

      Have you no idea what’s been causing all the ructions at Maynooth recently? No women in sight, but lots of scandal…

      • Mike Stallard

        OK I get that. But in our local church, priests come and go, they stay there, they eat there, they live there. It works. We see them as brothers in arms. (Not each other’s!!!)
        If they were mixed sex, tongues would start wagging very fast indeed.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I could list clergy at the seminary I attended, and staff, who made no secret of their homosexuality, and hid their activity badly. And that was in the 1980’s.

        (Gloriously, God has saved me now and i am no longer in the CoR),

        • Oisín mac Fionn

          What, so are you saying Papists can’t be saved?

          You wouldn’t be from the North now would you?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Papists aren’t saved, though they still can be!

            And no, I was born in Guildford.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Papists aren’t saved? Says who? You?

            I didn’t realise I was conversing with God himself. Who else could it be, judging with such gay abandon?

            Sure, it can’t be a fallible human who says he’s saved while ignoring Christ’s commandment not to judge, now can it?

            I don’t know who’s saved and who’s not, and I’m certainly not going to call down God’s judgment on an entire church just because it didn’t suit me. How egocentric would that be?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Your third sentence tells me that you don’t actually understand what Jesus really said.

            And reading the Bible makes it very clear as to the ‘how’ of being saved, and thus it is without great difficulty for anyone to tell when a denomination leads people to perdition.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            It seems to me that you place great emphasis on your understanding being better than anyone else’s.

            Such boundless confidence in one’s own opinion and reasoning seems to me to be the first step on the road to a self-made religion with Man at the centre and God existing only to back up his opinions.

            Beware of false prophets trying to lead you to an altar where their image is worshipped as God.

          • Dominic Stockford

            It isn’t ‘my’ view – it is one shared by Reformed Christians worldwide, and finds its genesis in the Biblical text – read it and ask yourself whether it really says what you claim it to. Or, more likely, does it in fact say that when we judge we should judge through the perspective of God’s teaching. If you really think it says ‘don’t judge’ then I guess you might as well line yourself up to be conned by every conman, deluded by every religious claim that comes along, and eventually (these days) unready to resist the lies of Islam.

            What is more, if it really does say ‘don’t judge’, then why are you judging me?

    • len

      Enforced celibacy is a form of abuse and undoubtedly has led to other forms of abuse.

      • Albert

        It isn’t enforced. It is freely chosen.

        • len

          IF the Apostle Peter (a married man) was the first Pope (as the RCC claims) why didn`t the RCC carry on that tradition as well?We know the RCC is VERY keen of ‘Tradition’

          • Albert

            He was also a fisherman.

          • Mike Stallard

            Catholic priests should be thought of as soldiers. They are ordered (ordained) and they cherish obedience. With a family, ministers of the gospel are hampered by schooling, housing, their wife’s job, in laws…
            Protestant ministers are simply not the same at all.
            PS Abuse is a human weakness, I regret. The Catholics – and indeed all the other denominations, including other religions too – are not exempt!

          • Albert

            Yes. There is no doctrinal requirement for clergy to be celibate, however, what Len forgets is that Paul says he wishes all were like him. Peter was married before he embraced the gospel, he is not therefore a template for those who are unmarried at the time of their embrace of the gospel.

          • len

            I see now why Catholics get so confused But God is not the author of confusion..

          • Albert

            There’s no confusion in the Catholic position. Perhaps it is you that is confused.

          • len

            Your point being?.

          • Albert

            That there is no reason why every pope should be like Peter in every respect. After all Paul wishes everyone was celibate…

        • IanCad

          Unless you’re a young lad with a good voice and were chosen to become a castrato.

          • Albert

            Errr…not really sure that’s to the point.

    • Anton

      “The episkopos should be… a man of one woman… he must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him…for if anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s?” – from 1 Timothy 3.

  • preacher

    One wonders why there is a dragon ( An ancient symbol of the devil ) depicted on the crozier, encircling the surprised looking Ram in a menacing fashion.

    • len

      I thought it looked like a serpent , but many dragons do I suppose apart from the legs but serpents losing legs is quite scriptural.

      • preacher

        I know what you mean len, but the devil takes on many forms in scripture. A serpent in the garden of Eden, a Dragon in Revelation, & that’s without mentioning an Angel of light.

        • Dominic Stockford

          And thus it becomes an even more peculiar graven image to have on what is claimed to be symbol of godly power.

    • magnolia

      It even appears minded to devour the cross….

    • grutchyngfysch

      It’s a pretty common motif: traditionally the serpent is intended to be reminiscent of Nehushtan but I’d agree that the early European design tends to make the lamb look much more menaced by the serpent than one might expect if the serpent was intended to be invoked purely positively.

      I’m not familiar with any contemporary descriptions of the symbolism, but I’d speculate that it might have had some currency as a symbol of the serpent trying to devour the Lamb, but choking on the cross (the serpent usually has it’s tongue lapped up to the cross, or rays/hands coming from the cross holding open the serpent’s mouth – reminiscent of later images of the harrowing of hell). That said, I’m only going by the similarities it has with later art.

  • Augustus Melmotte

    Are you saying that Dr Welby is a ‘Benedictine Abbot’? I think he makes no such claim. He has established the Community of St Anselm, a worthwhile gap year scheme, at Lambeth Palace, but that is hardly a Benedictine monastery. Or do you have something else in mind?

  • Jose Ignacio Denis

    The only thing a Catholic needs to say to an Anglican, a Protestant or an Evangelical is “CONVERT HERETIC!”

    • Dominic Stockford

      I’d rather be a heretic in the courts of my God, than a Roman Catholic outside them.

    • Anton

      Or to a mirror…

  • mikeharrison

    The article is much deeper than most of the comments beneath.

    • Inspector General

      Bit of a shambles at times, this place…

      • Anton

        Indeed. You even get churchgoers denying that Jesus is as divine as the Creator.

  • Dominic Stockford

    They have both sold out.

  • robert

    How muddled. Layman can bless and do so in the RC church. A bishop’s jurisdiction is not spiritual. It is a legacy of feudalism. The C of E will get rid of bishops soon as that type of authority infant isles people.

  • Vox Populi

    A different perspective on the meeting between Welby and Francis. Written in a satirical style and very funny it points out how Welby used this meeting to deflect media attention from the historic meeting of the Global South bishops in Cairo http://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rev-jules-gomes-welby-and-francis-believe-six-impossible-things-before-breakfast/

  • Basil Damukaitis

    He gave a kid a toy airplane, confirming his employment by Delta as an airline pilot!
    Get a grip!