Trevor Phillips 5a
Extremism

What British Muslims Really Think, or what Christians need to rethink?

 

Channel 4’s documentary What British Muslims Really Think informed us that 52% of them want homosexuality to be outlawed; 39% believe that a woman should always obey her husband; 18% sympathise with those who resort to violence against those who mock Mohammed (whom C4 styled ‘The Prophet’ throughout); and 4% sympathise with suicide bombers as a means of procuring justice. The good news is that 86% of them feel a strong sense of belonging to Britain, which is perhaps unsurprising when Britain’s liberal democracy tolerates such sympathies with no worse a retribution than being exposed in a Channel 4 documentary.

Former Equalities Commission head Trevor Phillips finds all this quite alarming. So alarming, in fact, that he has sounded the alarm. “There is a life and death struggle for the soul of British Islam… we need to take sides with liberal Muslims,” he trumpeted, propagating the inviolable “liberal Muslim” orthodoxy already expounded by politicians and the state; you know, the one which helped give rise to charges of ‘Islamophobia’ in the first place, for to talk about Muslims qua Muslims en bloc is Islamophobic, if not racist, especially if you’re not even a liberal sort of Muslim.

But there’s a problem with this “rigorous” survey, and it’s a methodological flaw which (surprisingly) appears to have escaped even the most discerning and intelligent of commentators. Throughout the programme, the findings were presented as what British Muslims really think compared to what the rest of the population really thinks, instead of (say) with what Roman Catholics or Evangelical Christians really think. Since the general population is manifestly more secular (that is, God-less) and liberal (in terms of social morality) than British Muslims, it follows that the ‘chasm’ between the two is not only great, but statistically the greatest. The results presented are thereby skewed.

While the percentage of Roman Catholics or Evangelical Christians who would advocate a return to homosexual prohibition in the UK is doubtless small (but by no means zero), what percentage of them oppose same-sex marriage? You may argue that this isn’t the same at all, but that is to miss the point. The very foundation of the questions asked in this survey are predicated on a certain notion of liberal orthodoxy, with an apparent emphasis on sexual morality. They ask about attitudes to homosexuality because attitudes to homosexuality have become the touchstone of liberal enlightenment. The objective is to neuter charges of Islamophobia with appeals to the more virtuous homophobia, because, for very many, opposition to same-sex marriage is born of the very hatred which has haunted and persecuted homosexuals for centuries. ‘But I say unto you, That whosoever hateth a man becoming one flesh with another man hath committed homophobia already in his heart… Whosoever hateth homosexuality is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath British values abiding in him.’

What proportion of Muslims oppose abortion compared to the proportion of Christians? For a valid comparison, perhaps we’d need to survey areas where more than 20% of the population is Roman Catholic. Should we then use the results to assess how backward these religious groups are when it comes to sex equality and women’s rights?

Why is it alarming that 39% of British Muslims believe a woman should always obey her husband? What proportion of Christians believe this to be a sound biblical exhortation? How many still swear it in their marriage vows? How many of these Muslims responded ‘always’ in the context of the husband’s submission to the loving, beneficent and merciful precepts of Allah? Do these 39% really all believe that a wife should always obey her husband, even if he’s about to behead their daughter (or even the wife) for dishonouring the family name? It is inconceivable that this ‘always’ is lacking any threshold of limitation at all.

And as for the 18% who sympathise with those who resort to violence against those who mock Mohammed, no doubt the percentage of Christians who would resort to violence to defend the name of Jesus is vanishingly small (if not zero), but what percentage would do so to defend their erstwhile Christian culture, traditional freedoms and way of life? When Trevor Phillips calls for a “muscular” approach to integration, how does he think moronic members of ‘Britain First‘ will interpret that?

  • Albert

    This is an excellent post: the assumption of liberal orthodoxy and the lack of comparison is instructive.

    Why is it alarming that 39% of British Muslims believe a woman should always obey her husband?

    Is this about Islam or country of origin? I expect the survey will give an answer, but I’m not going to go looking through it. But the comparison ought to be with people of other faith positions who have roots in or were born in similar countries.

    The survey looks like it lacks nuance. And, as usual, it forgets that the majority Muslim position, according to the survey is to hold nothing that is “objectionable”. This is not to say there is noting disturbing in the survey, but it does raise the question of what the purpose of this survey, and what will be the effect.

    Demonising Muslims is what terrorists want us to do.

    • Anton

      Funny, I’d thought they wanted us to be blown up and cringe in fear as a preparatory step to the establishment of sharia law here.

      • Albert

        As I’ve explained already, getting us to demonise Muslims is a preparatory step to what you are saying here.

        • Anton

          Maybe, but maybe not.

          • Albert

            Well, whatever their intention, it seems for certain that it is a sure way of achieving that end.

          • Anton

            Weird logic!

          • Albert

            On the contrary, their logic seems sound.

          • Anton

            Yours.

          • Albert

            One word answers. This is becoming more and more opaque.

        • bluedog

          Albert, the Muslims are simply doing what they have done since Mahommed set himself up as gang leader. They are using violence to advance their position.

          Mahommed used violence in his business activities as a camel train robber and brigand. The business grew strongly, his franchise as a camel thief was widely admired and he attracted followers. The responsibility of all those mouths to feed and bodies to shelter lead to the conquest of a few towns so that the boys could hang out in comfort. Obviously killing the existing inhabitants of the towns made sense, although as Ghengiz Khan later observed, ‘The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters”. Now Ghengiz was not a Muslim, but like Mahommed he lead a nomadic war-band with the same values and practices. What GK said could equally be said by Mahommed.

          You seem to be a willing apologist for Islam and Muslims these days. But within the DNA of Islam are ideas and aspirations that are very dangerous and very disturbing.

          • Albert

            Some Muslims are certainly. Let me use the life of Mohammed to express what seems to me to be the absurdity of the position I am opposing.

            Perhaps the worse thing Mohammed ever did, was to behead prisoners and take their wives and children as slaves. This was a kind of group guilt.

            Now, in order to defend Western culture, you want to ignore the Western principle Mohammed violated of innocent until proven guilty, to impose the kind of group guilt Mohammed exercised, in the name of opposing Islam. The result of this behaviour, would to radicalise some Muslims and general destabilise the situation.

            It’s so perfect a Western response from the Islamists’ perspective, that one wonders why they didn’t think of using terrorism to achieve that end…Oh they did.

          • bluedog

            ‘The result of this behaviour, would to radicalise some Muslims and general destabilise the situation.’ Excellent. Flush them out, let us see them as they really are, although we know already. Anything to avoid the boiling frog syndrome. If we had known when they were first allowed to settle what we know now, we would never have let them in. They are without question an existential threat. Don’t kid yourself otherwise.

          • Albert

            Flush them out, let us see them as they really are, although we know already.

            It’s not flushing out, it is creating. And it is unjust.

            They are without question an existential threat.

            They? All of “them”? Even those who don’t bother to go to the Mosque, drink, smoke, fornicate, hold Western views, but are only culturally Muslim?

          • bluedog

            Yes. They are the host body for an ideology that is ordained by Allah to ensure our submission. Look around you. It’s what the Muslims are doing all across Europe. How many Christians left in Turkey today? Yet the whole of Turkey can now get a three month visa to visit the EU. Read the sort of things Erdogan says about Islam. We must be completely crazy.

          • Albert

            Two things: there aren’t that many Muslims. Secondly, most of the Muslims are not seeking to impose anything on us. Those that try to, should be dealt with, but what is crazy is treating all Muslims as if they are trying to impose something on us, even when they are not.

          • bluedog

            Can only disagree with you on every count. If they are Muslims they seek sharia and the dominance of Islam. It’s what Islam proscribes. What part of that do you not understand? Are you suggesting that the Muslims are telling lies in saying they don’t want sharia? (Trick question).

          • Albert

            If they are Muslims they seek sharia and the dominance of Islam. It’s what Islam proscribes. What part of that do you not understand?

            The sheer lack of clarity in there. Firstly, it doesn’t follow that because someone is a Muslim that they will follow everything a Muslim “should”. Some Christians permit remarriage after divorce, despite Jesus clearly calling that adultery. Islam prohibits suicide, for example. Secondly, what is Sharia? Is there a single code that all Muslims agree on? They don’t even agree on the sources, let alone the laws or the interpretation.

          • bluedog

            What is Sharia? Google is your friend and there are sharia courts in Britain that may be willing to inform you about the benefits of their jurisdiction.

            No lack of clarity, just a lack of comprehension.

          • Albert

            Are you aware that Sunnis and Shias mutually reject different sources for Sharia? How many schools are you familiar with? What do they say?

          • Anton

            For what actually goes on in Sharia courts in Britain, I suggest you read “Choosing Sharia” by Machteld Zee.

          • Albert

            Thank you. What kind of Sharia is Zee talking about?

          • Anton

            If I specify which of the four main schools of Sharia the courts she examined apply, will it help? If you say Yes, I shall do; the book was published 3 months ago and is on my shelves. The author was given permission to sit in on various cases, generally family issues.

          • Albert

            There’s no need to do that. I am just very suspicious of people making claims of the type “Sharia law says X, therefore all Muslims wish to impose X”. The premise and the conclusion both seem to me to be open to challenge.

            For the record, what I hear of Sharia courts in this country is very disturbing.

          • Anton

            Yes, it is a disturbing book, based on a doctoral thesis.

          • Albert

            I found this on an American Sharia website:

            Islamist Understanding of Shari‘ah

            Now a great problem today is that a new movement within Islam, the Islamist movement, has innovated a non-traditional approach to Shariah which vitiates all of the past approaches and establishes a rigid, hardline and non-pragmatic approach which vitiates all semblance of humaneness, sanity, moderation and decorum which constituted Islamic Law’s traditional implementation over the past 14 centuries of history.

            Islamist states take the letter of the law – this is ‘Black letter law’ without regard to precedence. As Christopher Houston asserts:

            Indeed, the logic of the Shariah, with its minimal number of clear interdictions, and maximal scope for the interpretative extension of key precepts to particular situations, means that any freezing of the ulama’s ‘arbitrary’ decisions arises not so much from the essential characteristics of the Shariah, but from the historic institutionalizing of a particular legal tradition or method of exegesis or from the hegemony of a particular interpretation. Whether this lack of institutional and conceptual closure ironically encourages modern Islamist states (Saudi Arabia?) or groups to force such closure is another question. Paradoxically, the provisionality of law-making allows some Islamist groups to interpret the Qur’ān as affirming a radical negation of human autonomy.[1]

            Traditional governments in Islam on the other hand, follow precedents established over many centuries – just as is done in the US – they do not follow absolute ‘letter of the law.’

            Olivier Roy sums up the position of traditional Islam when he writes:

            The Shariah is never closed, for it is based not on a core of concepts, but rather on an ensemble of precepts which is at times general, at times precise, and which expands to include the totality of human acts through induction, analogy, extension, commentary, and interpretation.[2]

            And that’s the problem. When people say Sharia, what they tend to mean is Islamist Sharia. I wouldn’t want any Sharia to be exercised here, except to the degree (say) that Canon Law affects Catholics. But it does seem that there is Sharia and Sharia. I don’t doubt that in this country, there are problems.

          • Anton

            Machteld Zee warns that Sharia is often stated to Westerners to be a way of thinking rather than a set of laws but that this is not accurate.

          • Albert

            I’m sure that’s not accurate too.

          • bluedog

            Oh no! Don’t say that Islam is divided into different sects, that they may be at war with each other and that each party is supported by a powerful state with nuclear ambition. How could we be so stupid as to import that kind of trouble? Are we on the winning side? That would seem to be important.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            demographics, dear Albert, demographics…

          • Albert

            As I’ve been saying, even supposing there is a demographic problem it is only because everyone violates traditional Christian teaching in using artificial contraception and having a contraceptive mentality.

          • Dreadnaught

            Perhaps the worse thing Mohammed ever did, was to behead prisoners
            Are you forgetting we chopped off the head of a king?

          • Albert

            I didn’t.

          • Anton

            Who believed in divine right to do whatever he wished and greatly oppressed the people and their representatives by his taxes, then his high-handedness, duplicity and intransigence.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            and replaced him with a Lord Protector who greatly oppressed the people, ignored their representatives and demonstrated high handedness and intransigence. He also ignored centuries of common law which has the crown embedded within it. This is whataboutery…and is hardly relevant to the discussion.

          • CliveM

            Wow a new more ‘muscular ‘ Mrs Proudie.

            Must be careful around you.

          • At the risk of going off topic.. if communicants were given a choice between TGI Monday and a weekly column by Mrs Proudie of Barchester, which would they prefer? Upvotes count for Mrs Proudie.

          • You must publicise this choice more widely, Archbishop.

          • CliveM

            Yes agreed.

          • Anton

            Perhaps he wants only those who are zealous enough to read the comments to have the opportunity of voting.

          • chiefofsinners

            I say to you that you are Anton, but henceforth you shall be known as ‘Anton the zealot’

          • chiefofsinners

            Let us spare a thought for the Inspector General, who will be deeply offended not to have been asked to write a column.

          • CliveM

            I think you’re right. No sign of him today, he must be in a huff.

          • bluedog

            More likely that his laptop has contracted yet another nasty virus on the Pink News site. Will he never learn?

          • CliveM

            Oh dear, another ITD.

          • chiefofsinners

            All those would like a weekly column from the IG uptick this comment.
            No? Alright then.

          • chiefofsinners

            Perhaps some kind of alternation between the two?
            TPI Mrs Barchester of Monday, or something.

          • IanCad

            That would be my preference as well Chief.
            TGI needs to be extended to thirty minutes or so.

          • No offense to the TGI Monday crew, but give me Mrs Proudie any day.

          • Anton

            Yes, Cromwell became as bad as Charles. But I am glad that divine right of kings and parliament as an ignorable body came to an abrupt end. Charles could have had peace with honour had he shown a little more sense in 1647 even after losing the Civil War, but instead he negotiated with the Scottish parliament while pretending to negotiate with the English one and arranged an invasion of England from the north. Even after the New Model Army had sorted that out, Cromwell was still willing to give Charles time to deal with parliament, but after two more months of “I have divine right” he finally lost patience – of which he demonstrably had a great deal before January 1649.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            I tend to think that the survival of the British monarchy owes a lot to Cromwell.

          • Albert

            Quite – it’s quite hard to know which was the most wicked man ever to live in England – Henry VIII or Oliver Cromwell. Henry perhaps has the excuse that he was clearly a psychopath.

          • Cromwell seems to have had some sort of psychotic ‘break’. Psychopaths know what they are doing. Psychotics don’t.

          • Albert

            Now this is interesting. I’m not quite sure I understand whether you are saying Cromwell was psychotic. I think he was more of a sociopath, myself.

          • He could have been both but in his early adulthood he appears to have suffered a delusional, psychotic episode from which he never recovered.

          • Albert

            How interesting. Do you have a source for that?

          • Read it years ago at University. There is a short reference to it on Wiki, Jack believes.

          • len

            The French did a bit of that too..
            Don`t mention what the RCC did its a sore point with HG…

          • Albert

            I am being slow. What did we do?

          • len

            21st March 1556,?

          • Albert

            Ooooh! Of course! But he wasn’t beheaded, wasn’t a king and he had a poor track record of standing up people who were executed by the psychopathic King of England.

          • Wasn’t it the civil authorities who executed him, not the Church. Treason, or some such charge.

          • Albert

            Good point. We had nothing to do with it, Len.

          • CliveM

            Albert

            As HG said the survey only interviewed those Muslims in areas where they made up more then 20% of the population. So areas more likely to be ghettoised. Which I Would have thought makes the views less likely to be representational and more likely to be extremist.

            It would be like measuring Irish Cstholic beliefs, but basing it on the Fals Road.

          • bluedog

            The greater the numbers in any given locality the greater the confidence in expressing the objectives and views of Islam. If the area was 51% Muslim or higher the attitudes would most likely be more rather than less extreme. A greater presence results in reduced inhibition.

          • CliveM

            Well certainly on making public pronouncements. I’m not certain the effect will be the same on confidential conversations.

            Either way, it does throw doubt as the the accuracy of the survey.

          • bluedog

            It’s not the first survey on Muslim attitudes and it won’t be the last. In fact you can be certain that the government would be completely unsurprised by the results. If there are flaws in the methodology, they can be corrected. Google some of the earlier surveys, they’re on the public record and they say pretty much the same things. That’s because the teaching of Islam doesn’t change either. You see, the Koran is the perfect word of Allah, so how can that change? Another thing that never seems to change is the gullibility of western liberals. But the reasons for that are different.

          • CliveM

            I hope you’re not suggesting I’m a liberal? Pistols at dawn of you are.

          • bluedog

            Well, CliveM, you did seem to be leaning in that direction but it seems you have pulled back from the brink. Congratulations!

          • Albert

            Quite. What is the point of this? It’s just going to stir up hatred, and it isn’t enlightening anyone about anything.

          • CliveM

            I am surprised that more isn’t being made of the survey’s flaws. I found out from the Telegraph of all places.

          • Albert

            Yes quite. Good for Dr C in pointing them out. I am genuinely surprised at the lack of willingness to extend the hand of justice to our Muslims neighbours.

          • CliveM

            In addition I have wondered whether a survey of this blogs regulars, would show attitudes greatly different to those results which seem to be causing such media hysteria :0)

            Even, I suspect, the call for Sharia law would get an endorsement for its Christian alternative.

          • Albert

            I had the same thought…! 🙂

          • CliveM

            Sorry to ask but did you see my response to the challenge you set me?

          • Albert

            Sorry, no. Can you repost?

          • Anton

            The difference is that the New Testament position is to seek to change the laws, to those Christians would like, by operating within the present system, in our land democracy. Where sharia is imposed it is seldom consensually.

          • CliveM

            I’m sure that’s your position Anton. Over the years I have read views that would suggest that democracy itself should be replaced by a theocratic state.

          • Anton

            It’s the New Testament position – as ignored by politicised Christians Catholic, protestant and Orthodox for many centuries.

          • CliveM

            Well we don’t disagree. However I’m sure you would agree what influences behaviour is how the believers of any faith, respond and interpret the demands of their faith.

          • Anton

            Yes. They are in continuing internal discussion about that, of course.

          • Albert

            I don’t suppose I could trouble you for evidence of that, could I?

          • Anton

            By all means; any attempt to impose Christianity by law, including tithes, is wholly out of order. Christianity is about grace set in contrast to law, and the New Testament is clear that the church is a voluntary opt-in organisation within each nation or culture. tithes are just one of many things that was long compulsory in Catholicism, various protestant establishments, and Eastern Orthodoxy.

          • Albert

            In that case, I think I have misunderstood – I thought you were talking about earlier Christians changing the state through democracy.

          • Where’s that written in scripture? Jack can’t recall Jesus recommending any particular political approach or system.

          • Anton

            He didn’t – that’s what I’m saying, and apologies for any misunderstanding. I’ve altered the word “present” to “prevailing” in my preceding post, to clarify.

          • Merchantman

            Mohammed did worse than that. Like an angry schoolboy he denied the divinity of Christ and distorted the Judeo-Christian faith for his own ends.

        • Dreadnaught

          We are simply in the latest phase of a 1500 years old ancient war between civilisations.

          • Albert

            If that is the case, Dreadnaught. But if so, let us be skilful and just in our response.

          • Dreadnaught

            How about the word Robust instead?

          • Albert

            If a robust response makes matters worse, it would be better to be skilful and just.

    • Dreadnaught

      No need to ‘demonise’ muslims when they do it so well themselves simply by following the holy manual.

      • pobjoy

        It would be much simpler if they did. Muslims don’t follow the Qur’an so much as bow to social pressure in re certain precepts, not all of which have Qur’anic justification. The essential problem is not religious, it is legal, because enforcement by threat is of the essence of Islam. There is no conflict in sharia countries, but elsewhere, Muslims are in an anomalous situation, of getting away with breaking the law; that is why they are perceived as threat to democracy; even if they have sympathy for democracy, but dare not express it.

        • Dreadnaught

          The essential problem is not religious,…

          Don’t be daft; of course its religious, its the full damned recipe for life plus perks, as a praying, 5 times a day Muslim.

          • pobjoy

            Praying five times a day does not constitute an offence. The offence comes in threat of violence for failing to pray five times a day, in a particular manner.

  • Dreadnaught

    In as much as this programme needed airing I thought it was rather cynical to broadcast it at 10pm when peak viewing it this time is focused on The Ten O’Clock news slot. My cynical mind believes that this was a deliberate attempt to ‘bury bad news’ at the best time and still claim the moral high-ground that the programme was actually made. So Typical of Ch4.
    As a subject that affects everyone on these islands it would have been proper to show it at 8 or 9; even the plus 1 channel was pushed even further back naturally.
    Cranmer is right to mention the unreserved reverence to ‘the prophet’ and the token partial covering of her hair by the purported interviewer.
    Having said this, I have to give them the tick of approval for making it and seeing Phillips eat his own words.
    The big question however still remains of how to cope with the influence of 3 million British muslims and the 40million plus muslims now embedded throughout Europe.

  • bluedog

    A little sunlight is the best disinfectant, Your Grace. The more we see, the more we learn about Islam the easier it becomes to mobilise opinion to defend the nation against the threat to the British way of life that Islam represents.

    It’s a long war, like the campaign to lead the nation away from submission to the EU, now reaching a possible resolution. If the vote goes against the Brexit campaign it will not be the end of the resistance. Every opportunity to defeat those who see the future of Britain as an offshore province ruled notionally from Brussels on orders from Berlin will be taken.

    So too the campaign to prevent Britain being ruled from Mecca is only just beginning and no easy victory can be offered. Indeed, the nature of victory is not even clear at this early stage. But those who hanker for Muslim rule, and their fellow travellers who cannot recognise danger when they see it, should not assume that the march of history is on their side.

    • Dreadnaught

      We can start by blocking immigration from countries like Pakistan. Banning the importation of Saudi literature and foreign Imams. Cracking down on benefits for polygamous and first cousin ‘marriages’. Close the Madrassas and ban foreign/islamic dress codes and make sure deportations are carried out rapidly and contested from abroad if necessary.
      At least it would be a start.

      • John

        We should support immigration from Pakistan when it is Christians fleeing persecution from witch hunt blasphemy laws.

        • Dreadnaught

          Pakistani Christians should flee to India if they need to flee anywhere.

          • jsampson45

            Why should they be told where to flee? There is persecution of Christians in Hindu India.

          • Dreadnaught

            It is the international ‘rule’ to flee to the first place of safety.
            Christianity is India’s third-largest religion according to the census of 2011, with approximately 27.8 million followers, constituting 2.3 percent of India’s population.
            This does not suggest a place of persecution of Christians by any stretch of the imagination but why should a mere detail like this interest you and your bleeding heart.

          • Albert
          • bluedog

            Truth hurts?

          • Ivan M

            India does not accept refugees for permanent resettlement from anywhere. It is a long standing policy going back to the the beginnings of modern India. There are ways around it if the refugee can claim to be of Indian origin through his parentage.

        • Merchantman

          Ironically the ‘Turkish EU model’ might serve whereby for every 10 Muslims ejected from the UK we might accept a Syrian Christian or other genuinely persecuted Christian. The ratios reflecting some sort of balance.

    • David

      Well said !

  • Dreadnaught

    By no mean surpassing today’s missive:
    Years of British acceptance, now rolled back under a Neanderthal rock because the Koran has come to town.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3539431/KATIE-HOPKINS-British-Muslims-Really-Think-know-s-terrifying.html#ixzz45nhSQPQJ

  • len

    One thing Islam is achieving is shaking up everyones belief system. Western Christianity had become complacent now it is suffering a pincer attack from radical Islam on one side and aggressive atheists on another what emerges could be a more Biblical form of Christianity….

    • saintmark

      here’s hoping

    • Findaráto

      What, twelve men wandering about in the desert and nobody else? Sounds like a very biblical form of Christianity to me!

      • len

        Less is sometimes more….Christianity needs to go back to its roots and regain what it has lost….

  • carl jacobs

    Back in the 19th century, the leadership of Christianity reacted to the challenge of modernity by collapsing. It chucked overboard everything that offended modernity and created a new religion called Christian Liberalism. Muslims developed a much different apologetic method. If you challenge them, they kill you. Which it must be admitted is a terribly effective technique. Arrogant secularists thought they would repeat with Islam the deconstruction of Christianity. The cascade of AK47 bullets over their heads quickly disabused them of the notion.

    Liberal Islam isn’t something the external culture can create. It would emerge as a surrender to modernity from within Islam itself. Islam would have to lose confidence in itself for that to happen. And why should it lose confidence in the face of a decadent dying West?

    • dannybhoy

      Very good Carl.

    • Albert

      Back in the 19th century, the leadership of Christianity reacted to the challenge of modernity by collapsing. It chucked overboard everything that offended modernity and created a new religion called Christian Liberalism.

      There’s a new take on Pope Pius IX.

      • James60498 .

        “Back in the 19th century the leadership of certain parts of Christianity reacted to the challenge of modernity by collapsing.”

        In the 21st Century, Pope Francis with the support, and indeed encouragement, of many of his deputies in the “decadent dying West” is doing his best to ensure that the main part of Christianity does the same.

        Carl may have got a significant part of his timing wrong but then he has never been that good with his chronology. But remove everything before his first comma and he deserves the uptick I gave him.

        • Albert

          I grant you, Francis’ take is not the robust one of Benedict. But it’s not a collapse is it? There are two possibilities:

          1. Francis wanted full-scale reform, of the type recommended by Kasper.
          2. Francis never wanted that reform.

          If 2 is true, then he was never looking at collapse. But if 1 is true, then the Holy Spirit, working through the strength of the Church has foiled his attempt. And let’s remember, we’re only talking about whether people who have been divorced and remarried can receive communion and even that wasn’t achieved. This is hardly a collapse.

          And even if Francis was hoping to find a way of letting such people receive communion, he is clearly not interested in changing the teaching on any “collapse” issue: indissolubility of marriage, homosexuality, women’s ordination, abortion, artificial contraception.

          It hardly sounds like modernity and collapse. Deo gratias!

          • James60498 .

            Has it foiled his attempt? Sure there are many Bishops and Cardinals from the non-West who obeyed the Holy Spirit and the report isn’t what Kasper (Elton John lookalike) would have wanted.

            But everything now is done by sound bite and the drip drip effect.

            ” Who am I to judge” is far wider spread in the West than any final report.

            My mum, head of RE in a Catholic School when that really meant being a Catholic has no problem with the fact that a gay man that she knows and his “partner” receive Communion. Having once been a committed pro-lifer she is now of the opinion that “as Pope Francis says abortion is just one issue” and thinks that PFs friend, Obama, is a wonderful man who just has the wrong view on that subject and that I too would love him if I wasn’t so obsessed. My sons, now at the school she used to teach at are told that it’s unfair to object to “marriage for gay people”.

            A woman I know who is splitting from her husband, both regular Church goers, and hopes that her husband will find another woman to love him and who he will be happy with. She has no time for all this old fashioned stuff.

            In this throw away world off the cuff remarks on a plane and on Twitter are far more relevant to the lives of every day Catholics. And either he knows that and is playing to it. Or he is incredibly stupid.

          • Albert

            I’m not defending anything at all, James. The promises of Christ extend only to the teaching of the Church, not to comments made on planes. Sorry to hear about your mum – I hope you can do something there.

            I’ve never thought of Kasper looking like Elton John, before. No that you say it, I see what you mean!

          • James60498 .

            No I absolutely realise that you aren’t defending him. And clearly Christ isn’t responsible for comments made on planes. But those are the comments that very many Catholics will follow.

            As for my mum other than the fact that she remains opposed”ish” to “gay marriage” and abortion she looks to disagree now with anything I say. Even to the extent that when my brother in law, (the golden boy) made the mistake of daring to open his mouth in my defence over something, my sister pointed out (albeit with a smile on her face) that my mum was having a go at him now and that it was my fault.

            As for Kasper there was one particular photograph that I saw. If it had claimed to be a photo of Elton John I would have had no difficulty believing it.

          • Albert

            I find your relationship with your mother psychologically fascinating. The fact that her son is a more faithful Catholic than she is tempts her to be unfaithful, sounds like a reversal of parent child relationships!

            I quite agree about the Pope’s comments and how people follow them. I think his hope is to get people to listen, and they will either keep their opinion on whatever he’s talked about, but have a more positive view of Catholicism, or else, they will check what he is really saying, and then perhaps come to understand it more.

            Does it work? I think your mum knows the answer!

          • James60498 .

            I don’t know for certain but it could be a combination of factors and timing that have led to this.

            This is a possibility I think.

            A few years ago, she funded IVF for my brother. (His wife is not only Head of RE in a Catholic School but is currently rewriting the Catholic part of the syllabus for the Diocese). She justified this to herself because they said that of course they wouldn’t throw away any embryos.

            But then when they realised quite what that meant and they did throw away embryos she then found herself justifying that too.

            Then about the time of the second self-justification Pope Francis was elected. I rather wonder whether his off the cuff remarks are helping her to justify that decision. (Of course I never mention IVF).

            Incidentally I have always been (small c) conservative and both my parents were converts. To the best of my knowledge I am the first in my family to be baptised in a Catholic Church since the reformation.

          • Albert

            Oh dear. This is the trouble: you give way on one thing, and then things begin to crumble. It actually sounds quite painful for her. I wouldn’t have had your mum down as a convert though!

        • carl jacobs

          but then he has never been that good with his chronology.

          What chronology?

          • Albert

            Wasn’t that the point? 🙂

          • carl jacobs

            He was suspiciously implying some chronic failure on my part. Which as I am sure you are aware is simply inconceivable.

          • Albert

            🙂

          • James60498 .

            Absolutely inconceivable. I quite agree.

      • Findaráto

        Pope Pius IX? The author of the doctrine of papal infallibility?

        Considering that with this one declaration he rendered all possibility of Christian reunification forever impossible, it’s clear that he greatly contributed to the demise of Christian power.

        Who can take a man who declares himself infallible seriously?

        • Albert

          Catholics believed in papal infallibility prior to the declaration of the doctrine in 1870. Therefore, if this is stumbling block to Christian unity, such unity was already impossible. Such unity is impossible anyway, because of the various errors of the Protestants. Therefore, Pius IX did not prevent Christian unity, and so your argument fails.

          Moreover, the question is about this sentence:

          Back in the 19th century, the leadership of Christianity reacted to the challenge of modernity by collapsing. It chucked overboard everything that offended modernity and created a new religion called Christian Liberalism.

          Now, it is evident that this does not describe Pius IX. After all, he condemned the view that The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.

          So Carl’s comment can only apply to Protestantism. But you say that Pius IX prevented unification with Protestantism. Therefore, Pius IX prevented Catholic unification with progress, liberalism and modern civilization and with Protestantism which was collapsing into that. Therefore, Pius IX did not contribute to the collapse of Christianity into liberalism, but rather prevented such a collapse.

          Thirdly, it is hard to take seriously a claim that 1870 contributed to the demise of Christian power, since this power was more than mortally wounded by then any way. You only need to read Newman in the years before then, to see that.

          Thus, your argument is based on two premises which are false, but which if accepted as true, had no bearing on the question of the demise of Christianity into liberalism, but rather ensured that one kind of Christianity would not go the way of all flesh in the 19th Century. And that Church is Roman.

          Apart from all of this, one might also point out the Orthodox, who haven’t collapsed into liberalism. Thus, Carl’s point is serially wrong. Your argument is serially wrong, and the only thing that been demonstrated here is the illness of Protestantism.

          Who can take a man who declares himself infallible seriously?

          Well you seem pretty confident of yourself there.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’d exclude the church of Rome from my definition of Christianity.

          • Albert

            Thanks for that Martin. You have no authority to make such a definition.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I have the authority of the Bible.

            But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8 [ESV])

          • Albert

            You have the authority of your own interpretation of the Bible. Which is to say, no authority:

            Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The church of Rome tells it’s adherents that they need to do something to be saved. The Bible has no such requirement.

          • Albert

            Well it says in my Bible:

            “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `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.’ Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’

            And

            What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 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.

            That certainly sounds like “needing to do something to be saved.”

          • Martin

            Albert

            Yet Ephesians 2 says:

            But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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 2:4-10 [ESV]) emphasis mine

            And in Romans 8 we have:

            Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
            (Romans 8:8 [ESV])

            Since repentance and good works are pleasing to God it cannot be that those who have not already been born again can do them.

            What James is speaking of is good works as the evidence of faith, those good works mentioned at the end of the Ephesians passage. James is not saying that good works merit salvation but that they are the result.

          • Albert

            You said, The church of Rome tells it’s adherents that they need to do something to be saved. The Bible has no such requirement.

            So I gave the parable of the sheep and the goats to show that the Bible does require that. Far from answering that scripture, you simply set certain passages of Paul in contradiction with it! But that makes no sense, and in fact, these passages do not contradict the parable or Catholic teaching. Obviously, scripture does not contradict itself on such matters! And Catholic teaching shows they do not.

            You say:

            Since repentance and good works are pleasing to God it cannot be that those who have not already been born again can do them.

            A more faithful statement of Catholic teaching could hardly be expressed. Indeed, your position here, is essentially the teaching of the Council of Trent:

            If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.

            You then say:

            What James is speaking of is good works as the evidence of faith, those good works mentioned at the end of the Ephesians passage. James is not saying that good works merit salvation but that they are the result.

            Certainly, James is saying good works are evidence of faith. That is simply Catholic teaching, as expressed already. But James is explicitly not saying good works do not merit salvation. On the contrary, that is exactly what he is saying – explicitly:

            What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 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.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The parable of the sheep and the goats does not teach that salvation is gained by works. On the contrary, with James, it teaches that works are evidence of salvation, the result not the cause.

            Since you agree, as you claim that the council of Trent does, that good works cannot be done by those who are unsaved therefore no one can be saved by good works. But remember, I am not saying that salvation cannot be gained by good works but that they do not contribute in any way to salvation.

            James is not saying that works are required before faith but that works are evidence of that faith given by God (Eph 2:8). How do you know a man has faith, because he does good works.

          • Albert

            But remember, I am not saying that salvation cannot be gained by good works but that they do not contribute in any way to salvation. James is not saying that works are required before faith

            But this is exactly what James says:

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

            But Protestant human tradition reverses that and says, with no biblical foundation whatsoever:

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

            Therefore it is false to say, as you said, that The church of Rome tells it’s adherents that they need to do something to be saved. The Bible has no such requirement. The Church of Rome simply teaches what providentially taught against Protestantism.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Good works are the sign of that faith, you will see that if you read the whole passage:

            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. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
            (James 2:18-26 [ESV])

            James is speaking of showing faith through works. Hence “I will show you my faith by my works”.

          • Albert

            I have never denied that works are a sign that you have faith. On the contrary, I have explicitly said that they are a sign that you have faith. But it is evident that work are more than merely a sign. James says that along with faith, works justify:

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

            Ask yourself another question. If the Bible wished to teach us the Catholic doctrine, that

            A person is justified by faith and works, and not by faith alone.

            how else would it express it, except by saying:

            A person is justified by faith and works, and not by faith alone.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The first verse of the passage shows you are wrong:

            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])

            as does Ephesians 2:

            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])

            and verse 10 above shows that good works are the result of salvation,

          • Albert

            Neither of these passages contradicts Catholic teaching. They perhaps contradict what you think is Catholic teaching. But Catholic teaching is simply expressed by James:

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

            Now that is entirely consistent with both passages you quote here, but it is not consistent with your doctrine that we are justified by faith alone and not by faith and works, which literally reverses the teaching of scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You cannot isolate that verse from the rest of the passage. The works are the evidence of the faith, as shown in verses 18 and 26, so the meaning of verse 24 must be that the works make the faith visible, not that works are required for salvation. The doctrine of the church of Rome is in error.

          • Albert

            You cannot ignore what the passage says.

            The works are the evidence of the faith, as shown in verses 18 and 26,

            Fine – no one disagrees.

            so the meaning of verse 24 must be that the works make the faith visible, not that works are required for salvation.

            No, that doesn’t follow. Just because works are the evidence of faith does not mean that works do not justify, it means simply works done in our own strength, prior to faith do not justify.

            James teaches two things:

            1. Works are evidence of faith, since works cannot be done without faith.
            2. Works which are done through faith justify.

            Your position requires 1 & 2 to be contradictory. But there is no contradiction. Without faith, I can do no good works. But with faith I can do good works. Therefore, I am justified by faith. Since I do not earn my faith or the grace that leads to faith, I am justified by faith and not by works of the law. But having faith, as St Paul says, I can then work out [my] own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in [me], both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

            Thus through my faith – which is unmerited, God works in me to make me to work and to will for his good pleasure. It is these works, that are the fruit of ummerited faith and grace, which James speaks of as justifying.

            Hence:

            “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.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It works like this:

            God saves you

            God gives you faith

            God gives you works to do

            Since faith is not visible but works are, works are evidence of the faith that has been given.

          • Albert

            What do you mean by “God saves you”?

          • Martin

            Albert

            I mean that God takes the one dead in their sin and gives the new life. No longer do they love the things of the world but they love the things of God. They have been born again and are justified and now they repent of their sin and love the law of God.

          • Albert

            Fine -we’re using the words in the same way, I think. But if that is the case, what am I to make of your previous post:

            God saves you

            God gives you faith

            God gives you works to do

            It seems, on your model that God saves you (takes away sin and gives new life) prior to faith. As Catholics, we believe in justification by faith, so God cannot be said to have saved us prior to faith.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Ephesians 2 tells us that God gives us faith.

            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

            Obviously, God gives us faith, but you made it sound as if we are saved prior to having faith:

            God saves you

            God gives you faith

            God gives you works to do

            As such, you don’t believe in justification by faith, rather, you seem to be saying we are given faith because we are justified. But that makes no sense. So what is your position?

          • Martin

            Brian

            That justification is based on the faith God gives is hardly unreasonable.

            We have to remember that in our natural state we are like those bones in Ezekiel 37, dead, dry, scattered. It takes a work God before we can even understand our state and repent.

          • Albert

            I am not saying that the justification that God gives is unreasonable. I am saying that, your idea of justification is unreasonable; since, on your model, God, apparently justifies us even before we have faith, whereas, scripture makes it clear that we are justified by faith. Therefore, since your position does not appear to be reasonable, nor that of scripture, I am denying it is the justification that God gives.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So you’re saying that justification and faith cannot be given at the same time?

            But you want to add your works to the mix and claim what you do has a say in your salvation, yet Ephesians 2 denies this.

          • Albert

            No – I’m saying that you said:

            God saves you

            God gives you faith

            God gives you works to do

            and what I’ve been trying to find out is if you think salvation comes before faith. Now you seem to be saying not – but that all three of these things happen at once. I’m not unhappy about that, by in the logical order of things, justification is because of faith, even if it happens instantaneously.

            Now in terms of “adding” works, I think you are misunderstanding both Ephesians and James. I am doing nothing more than James is. My view as a Catholic on faith and works is simply what scripture says in James. You think that this conflicts with Ephesians, but Ephesians is asking whether we earn the salvation of Christ and the grace that he gives.

            As Catholics, we answer this question by saying no: the salvation of Christ and the grace that he gives is a free gift. We do not earn it, lest any man should boast. But having responded in faith, to the grace we are then able to do the works that he has appointed for us to walk in. As this is as a result of grace, it is not something we can boast about, but it is as important to justification (i.e. being righteous) as having three sides is to being a triangle.

            So in a sense, Ephesians and James are answering different questions. Ephesians is asking if we earn the saving works of Christ and the grace he gives, and James is asking if, having through faith and having received grace, we are able to do the works which are integral to justification.

            Thus, whatever the details, we can see that two doctrines are excluded:

            1. The Pelagian view that we earn our salvation.
            2. The Lutheran view that we are Simul Justus et Peccator . If we are committing grave sins, we are no longer righteous.

          • Martin

            Albert

            If we are dead in our sins we first have to be made alive to repent, then we believe by the faith that God gives and are justified. After this come the works that are the visible evidence of of salvation.

            Since salvation is a work of God it is not dependent upon what we do, even after we have been saved. Therefore salvation cannot be lost, for God gift is given to the dead.

            Equally all sin is, at its heart, a rejection of God’s authority so we cannot rank sins in order of seriousness, they all lead to death. If we are forgiven our sin at salvation, how can any sin be deemed to have taken away that salvation?

          • Albert

            If we are dead in our sins we first have to be made alive to repent, then we believe by the faith that God gives and are justified.

            Fine, but this is not now the order you gave previously – this order makes much more sense.

            Since salvation is a work of God it is not dependent upon what we do, even after we have been saved.

            “Saved” is a term that you use differently from me, and from scripture – as St James makes clear. I don’t think you quite feel the force of the power of grace as expressed in scripture.

            Therefore salvation cannot be lost, for God gift is given to the dead.

            The plain meaning of scripture is that salvation can be lost.

            Equally all sin is, at its heart, a rejection of God’s authority so we cannot rank sins in order of seriousness, they all lead to death.

            1 John?

            If we are forgiven our sin at salvation, how can any sin be deemed to have taken away that salvation?

            Is there meant to be some contradiction here? How is it contradictory to say that someone receives salvation, but then loses it by sin?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The order remains the same. And the word salvation can be applied to God’s initial raising of the spiritually dead and also to the whole process.

            It is plain from Scripture that since salvation is the work of God, who determined before Creation who He would save, and not in any way dependent upon man so it is impossible that an act of man can take away salvation. All the sin of the individual is forgiven in salvation, so it is illogical to suppose that a sin could cause a loss of salvation. That is the extraordinary scope of effectual grace, taking the sinner and making them righteous.

          • Albert

            The order remains the same. And the word salvation can be applied to God’s initial raising of the spiritually dead and also to the whole process.

            Yes, but then you are using the word “salvation” in two different ways. But in connection with justification it cannot be used in one of those two ways, since justification is on account of faith.

            It is plain from Scripture that since salvation is the work of God, who determined before Creation who He would save, and not in any way dependent upon man so it is impossible that an act of man can take away salvation. All the sin of the individual is forgiven in salvation, so it is illogical to suppose that a sin could cause a loss of salvation. That is the extraordinary scope of effectual grace, taking the sinner and making them righteous.

            No. That is not plain from scripture. On the contrary, scripture, plainly and explicitly speaks of those who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, then apostatising. Indeed, the repeated warnings of scripture against falling away make no sense, but are rather misleading, if we cannot in fact fall away.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I see no reason why salvation cannot be used of the whole of God’s act as well as His initial act of raising to life the spiritually dead. For one thing, that first act of God makes the completion inevitable.

            The parable of the soils, or if you prefer sower, tells us much about salvation. Firstly, the soil is prepared: God prepares the hearts of those who will believe so that they will hear and believe.

            The soil on whom the seed falls that has not been prepared never produces the fruit. Whether the seed takes root for a short time or not at all is irrelevant, they will not be saved. These are the ones who will fall away and John describes them thus:

            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])

            Where the soil is prepared growth is guaranteed, fruit will be produced. They will not fall away, they will not apostatize.

          • Albert

            I see no reason why salvation cannot be used of the whole of God’s act as well as His initial act of raising to life the spiritually dead.

            I’m happy with that. But one needs to use the language consistently. If we say Jesus is the Saviour of the world, we do not thereby become universalists. At some point we must speak of the salvation of the individual, and that comes through faith.

            Now it is clearly that case that some of those who fall away were never of faith in the first place. But your claim is stronger than St John gives us, for your claim is that all who fall away were never of faith in the first place. But scripture says:

            For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. For land which has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed; its end is to be burned.

            Now notice that we are in the same position that we were in when discussing James. My interpretation can encompass all that scripture says. Your interpretation requires you to go beyond one scriptural passage, and set it in contradiction with another.

            Do you see that, aside from the Magisterium, I simply do not see that the Bible means what you say it means? Your interpretation cannot be the meaning of scripture since for every text you bring up, it is possible to find another which contradicts your interpretation. But the Catholic position makes all the texts perfectly consistent.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I would suggest that those described in that passage from Hebrews are, in the context of the parable of the soils, those where the seed had little soil or where weeds grew, unprepared soil. Hence the enlightenment, tasting and partaking may have seemed real as they initially grew, but their soil wasn’t prepared. They were not of those whose souls God prepared to receive the gospel.

            And I’d disagree that your interpretation encompasses the whole of Scripture, rather it takes a passage and forces the rest of Scripture to comply with your interpretation of it. Your interpretation ignores texts such as:

            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])

          • Albert

            I would suggest that those described in that passage from Hebrews are, in the context of the parable of the soils, those where the seed had little soil or where weeds grew, unprepared soil. Hence the enlightenment, tasting and partaking may have seemed real as they initially grew, but their soil wasn’t prepared. They were not of those whose souls God prepared to receive the gospel.

            This is just special pleading. The passage speaks of them being enlightened, and partaking of the Holy Spirit. You want to add “Yes, but not really.” But why do that? Because the passage, left to itself, contradicts your whole theology. Therefore, it needs to be tweaked.

            All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

            He doesn’t cast them out – they cast themselves out.

            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.

            Even if one takes this in a predestinarian sense, it doesn’t defend the point you wish to make. Someone who comes to faith but then rejects God through sin and so goes to hell, was not predestined. But they were, at one point, justified by faith.

          • Martin

            Albert

            They are enlightened, they do partake of the Holy Spirit, but like the seed in the parable the soil is unprepared. Their growth is rapid, spectacular but they do not bear fruit for they die. And this is why they will not be restored.

            And no, they cannot cast themselves out. And what do you not understand about “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”. Jesus cannot lose any who He purposed to save. But those who fall away were never going to be saved. They were never justified by faith because God gives that faith.

          • Albert

            But in order for them to be enlightened and have the Holy Spirit, they must have first had faith. And isn’t that the point? They had faith, but it wasn’t enough, and so they fell away. Therefore, as scripture says:

            if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing

            So,

            a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            How so? Because

            God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

            Hence, we can

            work out your own salvation with fear and trembling

            For I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

            Hence the best expression of justification in scripture is not “faith alone” a Protestant idea that only occurs in the NT to be condemned, rather it is:

            in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

            Now love, as scripture says, is not to be in word or speech but in deed and in truth

            Which brings us back to scripture saying

            a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            So the whole scripture works beautifully together to proclaim the true teaching on justification.

            It’s little wonder that no one came up with the Protestant doctrine of justification for nearly 1500 years after it was first condemned in scripture. The wonder is why any biblically literate person ever took it up.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Even those without faith can be enlightened, And since faith is given by God it is always sufficient.

            What James is saying is that the faith cannot be seen without works, not that works justify.

            The heretical church of Rome was a late arrival at the salvation ball and tried to force its authority on everyone else and making everyone else comply with their position. You find few people openly saying that justification is by faith alone because Rome would kill them.

            You dishonestly ignore the texts that don’t agree with your position, otherwise you’d find that works do not have a place in salvation.

          • Albert

            Even those without faith can be enlightened, And since faith is given by God it is always sufficient.

            That’s a little coy. It doesn’t just say enlightened, but also that they have received the Holy Spirit. Are you seriously saying that happens without faith?

            You dishonestly ignore the texts that don’t agree with your position, otherwise you’d find that works do not have a place in salvation.

            That’s hilarious, because you just said:

            What James is saying is that the faith cannot be seen without works, not that works justify.

            No. What James is saying is what he says:

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

            The reason we do not find people teaching justification by faith alone is because scripture explicitly contradict the doctrine. The wonder is that anyone ever followed the belief, but such is the power of human tradition.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It doesn’t say they have received the Holy Spirit:

            For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
            (Hebrews 6:4-8 [ESV])

            And the writer himself seems to be hearkening back to the parable of the soils in the latter verses. Their sharing in the Holy Spirit is not obtaining, but merely receiving the benefit from what others receive. They have tasted the goodness, but not consumed, they’ve seen closely but not been a party to the power of God.

            James speaks of showing by his works, the works demonstrate the action of faith.

            Nowhere does the Bible contradict the doctrine of sola scriptura and the evidence is that there were those who held to it, despite the cruelty of Rome.

          • Albert

            And the writer himself seems to be hearkening back to the parable of the soils in the latter verses. Their sharing in the Holy Spirit is not obtaining, but merely receiving the benefit from what others receive. They have tasted the goodness, but not consumed, they’ve seen closely but not been a party to the power of God.

            No. The writer does not seem to be saying that. Take the word you have translated as “share” here – I would prefer “partake”. Then look at all the uses of the word in Hebrews and you will see that your interpretation is invalid. Indeed, if the word is as broad as you claim in its meaning, then it is hard to see that there is any salvation.

            James speaks of showing by his works, the works demonstrate the action of faith.

            Certianly, but he also says a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            Nowhere does the Bible contradict the doctrine of sola scriptura

            Untrue, but more importantly, nowhere in the Bible does the Bible teach the doctrine of sola scriptura. And that’s rather a problem…

            and the evidence is that there were those who held to it

            Evidence? Go on then.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Share, partake, they both mean pretty much the same, and it is the translators, not I who have chosen to use that word. And partake is not exactly a word that is used regularly in common speech. As you say, the word is used three times in Hebrews:

            Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.

            (Hebrews 3:1-2 [ESV])

            For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:14 [ESV])

            For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, (Hebrews 6:4 [ESV])

            There is nothing in those passages that would exclude my understanding that the writer is speaking of nothing more than a shared experience.

            And James is speaking of making the faith visible by means of the works, not that works produce salvation. Your position is that not only do works enable salvation but that they are continually required throughout this life, reducing God’s grace to a mere enabler.

            The amazing thing about God’s grace is that it takes the sinner, dead in their sin, repugnant to God and unable to please God and turns them into a child of God, loved by Him and loving Him. One who desires what God desires, from the rebel who hated God. God’s grace is about God, His power, His mercy, His love.

            Since Jesus is our premier exponent of sola scriptura I feel quite safe with it:

            He said to them, Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: (Matthew 12:3 [ESV])

            Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? (Matthew 12:5 [ESV])

            He answered, Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, (Matthew 19:4 [ESV])

            And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: (Matthew 22:31 [ESV])

            Have you not read this Scripture:

            The stone that the builders rejected

            has become the cornerstone;

            (Mark 12:10 [ESV])

            And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? (Mark 12:26 [ESV])

            And what does Paul say to Timothy:

            Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. (I Timothy 4:13 [ESV])

            No mention there of tradition.

            All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (II Timothy 3:16 [ESV])

            You will note, Scripture is breathed out by God, it is God’s word, His speech to men and it is the tool we are given, not tradition.

            And what have you to offer, superstitious worship of Mary and the saints, a constantly repeated sacrifice a mockery of that one sacrifice Christ made.

            He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. (Hebrews 7:27 [ESV])

            There is just once sacrifice, never to be repeated. To try to repeat that sacrifice is idolatry.

            You want evidence of the wicked persecution of the Church of God? Just look at the history of your church! Such as the Waldensians, Lollards, Wycliffe and Hus were pointing out the errors of Rome and it is plain that some within Romanism were as well. Remember, no one had a problem with justification by faith until after the Roman Catholic church was formed. Can you find a bishop at the first council of Nicaea who believed as you believe?

          • Albert

            There is nothing in those passages that would exclude my understanding that the writer is speaking of nothing more than a shared experience.

            You’re not looking at the Greek, I think. There are more examples in Greek. But let’s take one of your examples, the one that looks most like Heb.6.4:

            For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

            On your reading “sharing in Christ” is not all it’s cracked up to be, but in the Bible it is everything. In any case, the verse is:

            For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,

            Now, on your model, they never were repentant in the first place! And the rest of the passage is making the sake point.

            The same problem arises here:

            Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

            Obviously, if someone has not been raised up, he cannot fall. Clearly, this warning, like the last is being applied to people who have been raised up.

            And James is speaking of making the faith visible by means of the works, not that works produce salvation.

            No. He says works do produce salvation – with faith:

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

            No matter how you try and respin it, James simply states Catholic teaching. We say “That’s what we believe” you have to deny what it says.

            You have not answered my evidence about free will.

            The amazing thing about God’s grace is that it takes the sinner, dead in their sin, repugnant to God and unable to please God and turns them into a child of God, loved by Him and loving Him. One who desires what God desires, from the rebel who hated God. God’s grace is about God, His power, His mercy, His love.

            That’s the Catholic doctrine!

            Your passages on scripture do not establish sola scriptura, they simply proclaim the importance of scripture. Who’s denying that?

            You will note, Scripture is breathed out by God, it is God’s word, His speech to men and it is the tool we are given, not tradition.

            It is a tool along with tradition, as scripture says.

            And what have you to offer, superstitious worship of Mary and the saints, a constantly repeated sacrifice a mockery of that one sacrifice Christ made.

            We do not worship Mary, and we do not repeat Christ’s sacrifice for it is sufficient already. Rather we represent Christ’s sacrifice, in order that we may participate in it, as scripture says.

            He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. (Hebrews 7:27 [ESV])

            Well obviously. Why would we offer sacrifices or animals, when we have Christ’s own sacrifice?

            Just look at the history of your church! Such as the Waldensians, Lollards, Wycliffe and Hus were pointing out the errors of Rome and it is plain that some within Romanism were as well.

            Obviously, they were persecuted, I never denied that. I asked who believed as you do, before the Reformation era.

            Remember, no one had a problem with justification by faith until after the Roman Catholic church was formed.

            It is the Catholic Church that teaches the biblical doctrine of justification by faith. It is you Protestants who invented a human tradition of justification by faith alone. Anyway, when do you think the Catholic Church was formed?

            Can you find a bishop at the first council of Nicaea who believed as you believe?

            Can you find one that believed as you believe? The question was not discussed then, but outside of the Council, we do not find justification by faith alone. They were far too biblically based for that.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It’s still sharing, where’s your problem? In my reading they were never given new life, they were never born again, the ground was not prepared. Like Esau, they have sold their birthright for a single meal. They had a form of repentance, but not the reality.

            You seem to think that the only way you can fall is out of salvation. Tell me, did Peter fall from grace when he accepted the arguments of the judaizers?

            James does not say works produce salvation, he says they make faith visible, they demonstrate its existence.

            I don’t see any reference to freewill in your previous post. It is in any case irrelevant for the dead have no free will.

            No, that’s not ‘Catholic doctrine’ for you require that the sinner save himself.

            Scripture is not a tool, it is the authority that we must all answer too.

            Yes you do worship Mary, and the saints, though you use weasel words to deny it. And you do repeat Christ’s sacrifice, re-enacting it in the Mass. you turn a remembrance into a fancy dress party around a sacrifice, as you say in the next sentence:

            “Why would we offer sacrifices or animals, when we have Christ’s own sacrifice?”

            And they, and others who either met a martyrs death or stayed relatively silent, did. It’s notable you can’t produce a bishop from the first council of Nicaea. Your sect came into existence after that, as its desire for pre-eminence gradually drove out the gospel and believers from its leadership

            What you do is teach a justification by works, not justification by faith, for if works are required to both create and retain salvation.

          • Albert

            It’s still sharing, where’s your problem? In my reading they were never given new life, they were never born again, the ground was not prepared.

            They are sharing in the Holy Spirit, are repentant, and are standing. Case closed.

            Like Esau, they have sold their birthright for a single meal.

            No. On your reading, they never had a birthright.

            They had a form of repentance, but not the reality.

            If they never had repentance, scripture would not be able to say that it is impossible to restore them to repentance, if they fall.

            You seem to think that the only way you can fall is out of salvation. Tell me, did Peter fall from grace when he accepted the arguments of the judaizers?

            I am saying you can only fall, if you have first been raised up. But you say they have not been raised up. Therefore, on your grounds, they cannot fall.

            James does not say works produce salvation, he says they make faith visible, they demonstrate its existence.

            He says You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. Why are you so flippant over the word of God?

            I don’t see any reference to freewill in your previous post. It is in any case irrelevant for the dead have no free will.

            How can we be justly condemned for sins we have not chosen to commit?

            No, that’s not ‘Catholic doctrine’ for you require that the sinner save himself.

            No we don’t. Look, you just don’t understand what you reject.

            Scripture is not a tool, it is the authority that we must all answer too.

            Indeed, which is why I find your obfuscation over James so incredible.

            Yes you do worship Mary, and the saints, though you use weasel words to deny it.

            Worship is due to God alone. Mary and the saints are not God. If you think the devotion we give to Mary and the saints is like the worship you give to God, then you are either mistaken in what you identify in our practice, or you do not worship God.

            And you do repeat Christ’s sacrifice

            In the Mass, Christ makes his own sacrifice present. Why do you object to that?

            And they, and others who either met a martyrs death or stayed relatively silent, did.

            Can we have some evidence please?

            It’s notable you can’t produce a bishop from the first council of Nicaea.

            This is one of the most stupid arguments I’ve ever heard. There was no discussion of the Protestant doctrine of sola fide, because that was not the topic of discussion at the Council of Nicaea, and no one at the time taught your doctrine. All the bishops were Catholics!

            What you do is teach a justification by works, not justification by faith, for if works are required to both create and retain salvation.

            We teach what scripture says. You deny what scripture says, and teach another doctrine. We only have to compare the doctrines to see what’s wrong here:

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

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

            It couldn’t be clearer. We simply repeat what scripture says, and you exactly reverse what scripture says.

          • Martin

            Albert

            “They are sharing in the Holy Spirit, are repentant, and are standing. Case closed.”

            They aren’t born again.

            Man has an offer of salvation, they reject that offer for their sin. The one who has been born again can fall into sin and repent, however.

            James is specifically talking about observing someone’s 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. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

            (James 2:18-26 [ESV])

            That’s the reason he uses the word ‘show’. I’m not the one being flippant. I’m reading the passage as it is written.

            So why do you worship Mary and the saints, why are statues paraded through the streets and why are prayers offered to them? You worship them, to say otherwise is to lie.

            Don’t be so silly, why should Christ ‘make His own sacrifice present’? It makes no sense, the sacrifice is over, we look back to it and remember it in the Lords Supper. The Mass is once again idolatry.

            I give you evidence and you ignore it, I ask for evidence and you fail to provide it. Romanism is the result of power struggles that took over the Christian church in Rome and abandoned the gospel, enslaving millions down the centuries.

          • Albert

            James clearly and explicitly makes two points: good works are a sign of faith, and that they (when done in faith) justify man. He says it explicitly!

            So why do you worship Mary and the saints, why are statues paraded through the streets and why are prayers offered to them? You worship them, to say otherwise is to lie.

            If you think that is worship then I think you need to up what to do to God.

            Don’t be so silly, why should Christ ‘make His own sacrifice present’? It makes no sense, the sacrifice is over, we look back to it and remember it in the Lords Supper. The Mass is once again idolatry.

            If participation in Christ’s sacrifice is such nonsense, how come scripture constantly tells us to participate in it? E.g.

            We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

            It seems to me that every point you make admits of a ready answer. And why is this? It is because you follow a human tradition, not scripture.

            I give you evidence and you ignore it, I ask for evidence and you fail to provide it.

            I think even a fair-minded Protestant reading this would regard that claim as absurd. It’s all there above, for anyone to read. Where, for example, have you given evidence to support your claim that people believed in sola fide before the Reformation era? It just isn’t there. And with good reason. Not only is the doctrine not in the Bible, not only is it explicitly contradicted by the Bible, the doctrine itself relies on a corrupt Catholic late Medieval philosophical doctrine, known as nominalism. The person who rejects nominalism can make no sense of sola fide.

          • Martin

            Albert

            James is making one point, that good works are the evidence of faith. If you think good works have anything to do with getting to Heaven you make that salvation a thing earned:

            What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
            (Romans 4:1-5 [ESV])

            So which is it to be, are you saved as a wage for your effort or saved by grace alone?

            We once, when we were saved, that is when we died to the flesh and were made alive in Christ, were made partakers in His sacrifice. That is never to be repeated. The Lords Supper is a remembrance of His death, it is not a ‘partaking’ in His sacrifice.

            I gave you two answers why so little is heard of salvation by faith alone from the formation of Romanism. Firstly that the church of Rome suppressed such teaching with violence and those who believed it would either keep silent or die. The second is that it is heard, in those who the church of Rome put to death, which is of course a support for my first point. There is the third, that the common people were deprived of access to the Scriptures for they were in a foreign tongue that few could speak and fewer still could read. The church of Rome sought to keep salvation under its control and made up rules on how it could be obtained.

            Salvation by faith alone relies on clear Scriptural teaching, all you can bring against it is a passage in James that, when rightly read, does not contradict the rest of Scripture.

          • Albert

            James is making one point, that good works are the evidence of faith.

            He plainly says we are justified by works and not by faith alone.

            So which is it to be, are you saved as a wage for your effort or saved by grace alone?

            You leap ahead of what scripture says and misrepresent what Catholics believe. Good works are themselves a gift of God received done through faith.

            The Lords Supper is a remembrance of His death, it is not a ‘partaking’ in His sacrifice.

            You are limiting the word “remembrance” to a purely intellectual thing, rather than a making present and ignoring the way scripture speaks of us participating the in body and blood of Christ.

            Firstly that the church of Rome suppressed such teaching with violence and those who believed it would either keep silent or die.

            Three problems here:

            1. Your claim was that there was evidence of people believing your innovation. You haven’t provided any evidence for this, you have simply asserted why there is no evidence. So you contradict yourself.
            2. There were all sorts of heresies in the history of the Church. So whatever suppression occurred, we would still expect evidence of your innovation if people believed it. But you are tacitly acknowledging that there is no evidence. Ergo.
            3. The Church of Rome never had the kind of universal power that you imagine. What about Eastern Christians? They weren’t under this kind of power, and yet they don’t believe your innovation.

            There is the third, that the common people were deprived of access to the Scriptures for they were in a foreign tongue that few could speak and fewer still could read.

            This only happened in some places some of the time. But it is hard to see how people having the Bible to read would mean they believed in sola scriptura. People only believe that innovation if it has been handed to them by human tradition.

            Salvation by faith alone relies on clear Scriptural teaching, all you can bring against it is a passage in James that, when rightly read, does not contradict the rest of Scripture.

            Of course it doesn’t contradict the rest of scripture. It contradicts your human tradition, which you confuse with scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, James is talking about before men, not before God. He is saying that you are seen as being justified by men by your works. Otherwise Paul would not have written:

            What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

            (Romans 4:1-5 [ESV])

            “You leap ahead of what scripture says and misrepresent what Catholics believe. Good works are themselves a gift of God received done through faith.”

            If you really believed that you wouldn’t say that we are justified by works, because we must be justified before we can do those works:

            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])

            The works are to God’s glory, not our salvation.

            I’ve provided evidence, the Bible, in the epistle to the Romans provides evidence that the real Roman church believed salvation is not by works. Yours is the innovation, yours is the human tradition, the Bible testifies to that fact.

            No, the church of Rome didn’t rule the whole world, but it was certainly in control in the west and was quick to destroy any any dissent. Equally the churches of the East lapsed into the heresy of authoritarianism, and like Rome turned to power as their real reason for existing

            James doesn’t contradict the rest of Scripture because James is not saying we are saved by works, he is saying good works are evidence that we are saved.

          • Albert

            No, James is talking about before men, not before God. He is saying that you are seen as being justified by men by your works.

            No, he is clearly talking about justification before God:

            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 James is clearly talking about justification before God. But you say that this doctrine contradicts Paul in Romans. But scripture cannot be contradictory in this. Therefore, your interpretation of Romans must be wrong. And that of course has been my contention from the beginning (albeit that it is Paul in Ephesians that you have typically been relying on).

            If you really believed that you wouldn’t say that we are justified by works, because we must be justified before we can do those works:

            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.

            Your whole error rests on you confusing two things: good works done before faith and grace, and good works done in faith and grace. You seem to exclude the possibility that by faith God is able God to be at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. But clearly God can do that, for scripture says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But you don’t believe this, apparently. The moment you accept this scripture, is the moment you accept that good works, done by faith and grace justify – the teaching of James.

            I’ve provided evidence, the Bible, in the epistle to the Romans provides evidence that the real Roman church believed salvation is not by works.

            Romans! Romans teaches the Catholic doctrine:

            But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

            Now the righteousness of God is not imputed, as the Protestant tradition says. The righteousness of God is inherent to God. Thus, scripture says we might become the righteousness of God. If the Catholic doctrine is not true, then you must believe that God is simul justus et peccator. But you don’t believe that! So therefore you ought to believe that Romans teaches the Catholic doctrine.

            No, the church of Rome didn’t rule the whole world, but it was certainly in control in the west and was quick to destroy any any dissent. Equally the churches of the East lapsed into the heresy of authoritarianism, and like Rome turned to power as their real reason for existing

            This is just special pleading. In both areas, we find huge amounts of heresy and dissent from authority. So where is the the evidence that people dissented with your doctrine?

            James doesn’t contradict the rest of Scripture

            Of course he doesn’t. He says the same as the rest of scripture -albeit that he is perhaps clearer than other parts, like Paul, which can be hard to understand, [and] which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

            Martin:

            James is not saying we are saved by works

            James in scripture:

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

            You are fatly contradicting the word of God, are you not?

          • carl jacobs

            What authority does he lack?

          • Albert

            The authority to make the definition.

          • carl jacobs

            That does not answer the question. You simply repeated what you had already said. What specific authority does he lack?

          • Albert

            That does answer the question. When I said he did not have the authority to make the definition, he said I have the authority of the Bible.

            But the Bible, far from giving that authority to private individuals denies it to them:

            Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

            and

            First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation

            And it seems particularly to deny it to Protestants of the sola scriptura type, since it says:

            So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

            But Protestants deny tradition (or they say they do). Therefore, scripture denies Martin that authority because (i) private individuals do not have that authority and (ii) they do not have the complete tradition, only the letter, and not the Spirit. Therefore, Martin does not have the authority to make that definition, as I said.

          • carl jacobs

            Ah! So what is missing is the mediation of the RCC. How convenient. That means the RCC can never found to violate the definition. Which of course begs the question that asks why I should consider the RCC to be a mediator in the first place.

            The RCC. Attacking the Sufficiency of Scripture for 1500 years. There’s a reason they chained the Bible to the pulpit. “You don’t need to read it. We’ll read it for you.”

            What could go wrong? Besides a false Gospel, and idolatry, I mean.

          • Albert

            Ah! So what is missing is the mediation of the RCC. How convenient.

            You make it sound as if it is a fault of Catholicism that it is what is left when scripture rules out other positions.

            That means the RCC can never be found to violate the definition.

            Which is exactly what we should expect: the word of God is superior to us, we cannot stand in judgement of it.

            Which of course begs the question that asks why I should consider the RCC to be a mediator in the first place.

            On the contrary, it is the very reason why – all other positions are excluded by scripture.

            The RCC. Attacking the Sufficiency of Scripture for 1500 years. There’s a reason they chained the Bible to the pulpit. “You don’t need to read it. We’ll read it for you.”

            May be you know better than me, but to my knowledge the people who chained the Bible to the pulpit were the Anglicans. Moreover, we didn’t attack your doctrine of sufficiency of scripture for 1500 years. Your version of the doctrine didn’t exist for 1500 years, not least because it isn’t in the Bible. Your version of it only came into existence because Luther discovered that no one had found his doctrine of sola fide in the Bible for 1500 years. So rather than worrying that he might be twisting it, as scripture warns, he assumed he alone was right and everyone else was wrong – that is, he came up with sola scriptura. The fact that he also believed he couldn’t reconcile his interpretation with James is a wonderful sign from providence for those who come after.

    • Who provides this “leadership of Christianity” that collapsed in the face of modernity?

      • Albert

        Anyway, why does Carl care? His ethics on violence is as secular liberal as you can get.

    • Dreadnaught

      …a decadent dying West?

      Spoken like the Mad Mullah himself.

      • carl jacobs

        Doesn’t make it false.

        • Dreadnaught

          But it is.

          • carl jacobs

            When you figure out how to get your fertility rate above replacement, then you come talk to me.

          • Scrap contraception and reestablish the link between sex and procreation. Simples.

          • Albert

            Is that what causes it then? It seems that people don’t know. Or perhaps they just don’t care about the demographic crisis.

          • It’s a EU plot. We need a few more strokes but Brusels says we’ve had our quota.

          • chiefofsinners

            Have you noticed there aren’t as many adders around as there used to be?
            I think the problem is that they aren’t multiplying.

          • Anton

            Wait till summer.

          • chiefofsinners

            The winter subspecies is known as windscreen viper.

          • Anton

            Kiss my asp.

          • It’s the way you tell ’em.

          • Albert

            I have an idea!

          • Dreadnaught

            And this will sort out what you denfine as decadent – fertility rates? Get over yourself importance.

            Britain’s total aid budget last year was over £13 billion.
            The UN’s target of 0.7% was otherwise only met by the Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden, the latter giving 1.4% of its budget.

            The US gave £22.47 billion in aid, although it amounted to just 0.17% of its national income.

            On average the 28 countries in the OECD study dedicated 0.3% of their national income to overseas aid last year, totalling £93.02 billion, a rise of 6.9% from 2014.

            If this is decadent I’m a monkey’s uncle – oops – sore point.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t give a damn how much money a state gives away in foreign aid. This isn’t about public money. You aren’t having children. You aren’t forming stable families. You aren’t properly civilizing the children you do have. Do you actually think you are going to maintain your economic prosperity in a knowledge based economy against the emerging Asian economies on the backs of a shrinking pool of poorly disciplined and poorly taught kids? Children are not born with a natural ability to sit, focus, and concentrate. Those are.moral skills that must be taught. Who is teaching them?

            It’s basic math Dreadnaught. Women either produce 2.05 children on average or your population declines. It doesn’t reach a new level. It just keeps on declining. Unless it comes back up, Europe as you know it must disappear. Must.

            Now you may not see the inherent selfishness and self-centeredness of this hostility to the obligation of parenthood, but to me it’s the very essence decadence.

          • Albert

            For much of the 20th Century, the children that followed the Victorians looked down their noses on the Victorians for a range of sins: prudishness amongst them. It was obvious to them that sex needed to be unzipped in the name of selfishness and liberated from the customs the Victorians held dear. In a generation or two, they will look down on our age for letting all the standards go, by which children are born and nurtured, and all in the name of sex.

            You’re right, the maths makes this obvious, but then, as scripture says, “Eyes have they, but see not.”

          • len

            More wives?. One is enough for me though!…

    • Martin

      Carl

      Some of the leadership – you should examine the Downgrade Controversy. Of course, some of the alternative to the liberalism is as bad, having abandoned biblical teaching for the spectacular.

      • carl jacobs

        Thanks for that, Martin. I had never heard of the controversy and found it interesting.

        Some of the leadership

        Fair enough. I have taken some well-deserved grief for the imprecision in that post.

  • Please participate in HIs Grace’s survey. Scroll down to see his comment and the choice offered. It involves his recent secret assignation with Mrs Proudie.

  • len

    The Christian Church has been all but destroyed by ‘compromise’. Christianity became paganized by Constantine when corrupted ‘Christianity’ became the State religion.For a while the Reformers brought the church back into line(despite horrendous persecution) but the Reformation once again has become corrupted by ‘compromise’ with the world namely ‘the State’.. There are of course ‘free Churches’ that are doing a great job in preaching the Gospel (when allowed to) and will remain so.Out of all the Churches in the Book of Revelation there was only a remnant that remained faithful.There has always been’ a remnant’ who remained true to the God of the bible (however small)

    Islam however is an aggressive political/religious movement and it cannot change, it cannot evolve , it cannot compromise .Islam remains much as when its founder Mohammed roamed the deserts of Arabia.

    • Albert

      I love Len’s posts.

    • pobjoy

      Christianity became paganized by Constantine

      Christianity cannot be paganised. A person is either ‘in Christ’, that is, living in constant gratitude for atonement, or is living without that gratitude. Paul wrote, ‘Test yourselves.’ To test oneself is to look back at one’s decisions at the end of each day and examine one’s motives to see if they were taken with gratitude for sins forgiven. Jesus said of the woman in the Pharisee’s house that she loved much, because she was forgiven much (Lk 7:36-50). That did not mean that she was a worse sinner than the Pharisee; just that she realised that sin damaged the eternal soul, while the Pharisee lived in a dangerous unreality.

      Constantine merely applied ‘Christian’ whitewash to the same old Roman religions, whose purpose was to control the plebeians. Christians were murdered, unless they fled the empire, or migrated into parts of the empire that legions could not reach.

      Today, most Christians have fled the denominations, including ‘free churches’, to meet in private dwellings. None of the denominations preach the gospel of full atonement to any notable extent. Most do not even intend to do so.

      • len

        Pobjoy,
        Your explanation is better than mine . ‘Constantine merely applied ‘Christian’ whitewash to the same old Roman religions,’
        Thank you.

        There are many that go under the label ‘christian’ who should indeed do as the Apostle Paul advised and to check to see whether they are in the faith(‘ In Christ’ not just ‘in religion'( (better now than later when it probably wil be too late.)
        I am sure that many within the RCC cannot have realised the pagan origins of many of the teachings that they hold to….and I am also sure that many following the false prophets of today should do as Paul advised….

        • bluedog

          ‘I am sure that many within the RCC cannot have realised the pagan origins of many of the teachings that they hold to’.

          Len, as I’m sure you know, Christianity is a syncretic religion that owes a lot to pagan practice – the timing of Christmas and Easter for example, setting aside the obvious link to the Passover of the latter. Given that the ruling body of the RCC, The Curia, descends directly from Imperial Rome, one doubts that the princes of the Roman Church are ignorant of their history. The Laiety possibly less so.

          • Ivan M

            The laity is just as aware as anyone. The RCC rejects nothing that is true in other religions. The original pagans saw in the Catholic the fulfilment of their deepest yearnings. Hence the ease with which they were converted. I really don’t care if there are parallels with the Dionysus or Ishtar in the Resurrection myth, since that only shows that while the pagans had intimations of the truth, Jesus Christ is the fullness of Revelation. As St Paul told the men of Greece the Unknown God that they were looking for is Jesus Christ. Frankly Catholicism represents the splendour of Revelation. I really can’t be arsed to be grafted onto the beach of Jesse if not for Jesus Christ. I’ll stay a pagan.

          • len

            Seems a dangerous theology to me.IF there was no danger in worshipping idols and other things that were created to worship demons God would have said ‘just use a bucket of ‘Christian whitewash on them and all will be fine’.

            Instead Deuteronomy 12:3;
            ‘Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their
            Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out
            their names from those places’.

            (I find it rather odd that ISIS is doing exactly that in Palmyra with the temple, consecrated to the Mesopotamian god Bel, worshipped at Palmyra in triad with the lunar god Aglibol and the sun god Yarhibol,’

          • Ivan M

            ISIS was doing God’s work by their own lights in Palmyra. As was the Taliban when they blasted the Bamiyan Buddhas. The best that one can say about Deuteronomy and its latter day followers is that it is meant for low IQ morons who take a literal view of the world.

          • len

            Can God use what is intended for evil to accomplish His purposes?..
            I guess He can…..

          • Ivan M

            That is undoubtedly true.I live among Hindus, animists and Buddhists in my part of the world. I don’t see them as greater idolaters than myself. The superior understanding of the injunction against idolatry is this: one should not have no higher directing principle than God. One either worships God or the self. If one is obsessed by sex like myself then sex is the ruling god. If it is claimed that ‘free market’ will solve all problems of economic production and economic justice, then the ‘free market’ is the ruling god. A priest once gave a simple rule to find out who one’s ruling god is; simply what we think about when we get up in the morning.

          • Albert

            I find it rather odd that ISIS is doing exactly that in Palmyra

            Destroying idolatry is no evidence that one has the truth. It means nothing more than that one doesn’t have one particular error.

          • len

            That’s a rather strange way of looking at the instructions of God?

          • Albert

            I don’t think ISIS are doing what they are doing on the instructions of God.

          • pobjoy

            Christianity is a syncretic religion

            Abram was a man without rituals, festivals, sabbaths, priests or mentors; though he did build the occasional temporary altar out of uncut stones, a general habit of the times. He was accounted righteous because he trusted God, and was called ‘Abraham’.

            Christians are like Abraham, and regard themselves as his ‘children’ or successors. They are entirely without rituals, festivals, sabbaths, priests and mentors; they don’t bother with, or need, any altars of stones, cut or uncut, and actually have no doings with people who have altars, which now can have pagan significance only.

      • Martin

        Pob

        You are mistaken, there are plenty in the Free churches who hold fast to the gospel.

        • pobjoy

          Holding fast is not the same as preaching.

          • Martin

            Pob

            You can’t preach the gospel unless you hold fast, and they are preaching.

  • chiefofsinners

    What Trevor Phillips Really Thinks:

    52% of him thinks Islamopobia is not sufficiently muscular.
    39% of him thinks his wife should always obey the 18% of him which sympathises with those who resort to violence against those who mock multiculturalism.
    The man is confused, bless him.

    • HedgehogFive

      Accusations of “Islamophobia” and “homophobia”:

      the SANDWICH OF DEATH.

      • chiefofsinners

        The sandwich of death is made using pickled beetroot, as any schoolboy knows. In alchemy it is the only known antidote to the elixir of life.

  • The Explorer

    Nogods and friends don’t seem to have discovered this thread.

    • CliveM

      Sigh……..

      Explorer, you know what happens when you say that sort of thing!!

      Besides they’re not interested in the thread and don’t respond to it. They’re simply trolling and congratulating each other.

      • The Explorer

        There’s a belief that painting the Evil Eye on a boat will keep away the actual Evil Eye. A bit like vaccination. I was invoking that’s principle. Sadly, it doesn’t always work. And some boats painted with the Evil Eye still sink in storms.

    • Pubcrawler

      Findus has, though.

  • mmac1968

    I am British born & bred and my ancestors no doubt go back millennia, I am also Christian, it is who I am, not perfect but in my soul I know what is charitable, foolish and when respect and doubt are due. There are many aspects of Islam which are similar to Christianity, Hinduism and Judaism, but it is the differences which concern me and the threat from the conservative Muslim rather than the moderate. It was no mistake that Islam and the other faiths consigned themselves to separate lands. In Muslim lands blasphemy and apostasy receive the death penalty, non Muslims are taxed, murdered and shunned. Islam teaches their superiority, not charity. It is not un-Christian to recognise the threat, it is fool hardy not to. The liberal intelligentsia, led by the BBC and the media and arts have since the 70’s belittled Christianity, the family and the stupidity of faith. Yet they have celebrated the Islamic faith as a cuddly minority group and bowed to its every whim, now these whims are backed up violence and death to all those around us. It is not a matter of money, education, of life choices that drive Muslims to murder their fellow man, it is as directed & interpreted by their Imams and the bastions of their faith in Islamic lands. The price to come is I fear terrible and the best we can expect from our erstwhile leaders is a shrug with a “we got it wrong”.

  • Findaráto

    How many Christians watch C4 anyway?

    This program was produced to appeal to C4’s key demographic, which is liberal secular Guardian readers. Not many Guardian readers take hysterical claims of a Muslim plot very seriously, hence the graveyard timeslot. And remember, Christianity is a joke for these people. A joke that need not be taken seriously, except of course when it’s interfering with children or trying to justify anti-gay discrimination. So why take account of any Christian views? They’re such a minority, they can hardly influence the democratic process.

    That being the case, Christians should not be surprised at being ignored. We ignore Wiccans and Jedi Knights too. And we ignore Mislims also, although I will agree that violence attracts attention, so if Muslims react to being ignored by kicking up a fuss, it’s the fuss that will generate a response, not their religious views.

    If Christians want to be taken seriously they have two alternatives. 1) Convert a majority to their point of view or 2) kick up a fuss when they’re ignored. Bitching about their predicament on blogs like this one will get them precisely nowhere.

    • len

      Biblical Christianity was never going to attract a great amount of followers (indeed from some of the comments of Jesus you might have though he was actually trying to put people off ,’ take up your Cross ‘ ‘the narrow path few will find it’ etc because Biblical Christianity will never fit into’ this world system’ .

      Indeed it never should. Biblical Christianity is super natural and will never fit into this natural sense dominated world system.

      Some people who live in spiritual darkness actually love that darkness and will never come to the light.This is a fact that Christians accept but it is no reason to stop holding out the Word of Truth for there are those who are able to perceive it’.He who has ears’ (spiritual awareness) to hear etc..

    • Martin

      Fin

      You really haven’t a clue, do you. Your religion is so obsessed with yourself that anything outside of your opinion is just ignored.

    • The Explorer

      Not many Guardian readers take hysterical claims of a Muslim plot very seriously. Two possible reasons for that.

      1. There is no Muslim plot.

      2. Guardian readers are out of touch with reality.

      No 2 is undoubtedly true. Regarding No 1, time will tell. As I said a thread or two ago, watch Sweden: it’s the crucible of Europe’s future.

    • Anton

      And God bless you too.

    • I agree Christians do need to kick up a fuss a lot more. Muslims lay down their rules with garnering pity and pleading inequality then with threats and violence and our society bends over backwards to accommodate them without arresting and throwing them in jail or deporting them.. That’s the sure fire route way to be taken over and pushed out.

  • hereward

    The Arch Bish bends over backwards does he not ? Perhaps this writer below is one of the ” moronic Britain First ” types ?

    Daniel Greenfield explains Islam 101:

    “Every devout Muslim is an “Islamist”. Islam is not a personal religion. It is a religion of the public space. A “moderate” Muslim would have to reject Islam as a religion of the public space, as theocracy, and that secularism would be a rejection of Islam.

    Nothing in Islam exists apart from anything else. While liberals view culture and religion as a buffet that they can pick and choose from, it is a single integrated system. If you accept one part, you must accept the whole. Once you accept any aspect of Islam, you must accept its legal system and once you accept that, you must accept its governance and once you accept that, you lose your rights.”

  • Muslims don’t integrate, some just pretend to.

  • takjeon

    With regard to what the rest of the country thinks, there was an ominous reference (about 36:00) to the inability of Muslims to integrate with “orthodox British society”. Clearly, it seems that anyone who is not “correct thinking”, including Christians who hold to the faith of the Church pace gender theory, SSM, etc. are a problem for the liberal establishment.

  • johnb1945

    I thought this when I saw it, but upon reflection I don’t think it confounds the results.

    Why?

    Because the surveyors assumed that “Christian” views would be accurately reflected in the “rest of us” cohort.

    And considering that 59% of the population describe themselves as “Christian” – even if only formal or cultural – this is probably not an unfair assumption.

    Likewise, I doubt they selected Muslims only on the basis of Mosque attendance, so presumably the cohort of Muslims included those who are formal and nominal believers in the same way.

    The survey also asked Islam specific questions. You mention a few Arch Bish, but there were others. For example I doubt any Christians, nominal or deep believing, support Sharia, and I suspect that the chasm in attitude to Jews is a reflection of reality, regardless of your Christian stripe

    What the survey may show is that Muslims are less likely than Christians to be formal or nominal only, I suppose.

    That would still be a potential problem for the rest of us!

    Maybe someone who has looked at the methods in more detail can add to this or say why I am wrong?

  • johnb1945

    BTW, this may be controversial to some who think Christianity has to be defined in opposition to secular liberal orthodoxy, but I think it is very important for Christians to claim supposed “British” values of egalitarianism, separation of powers etc. as authentically Christian, which have arisen in only one place in the history of mankind – erstwhile Christendom, from coherent Christian exegetics.

    This is why I am less allergic to David Cameron’s assertions of a “Christian Britain” than others.

    The more time Christians spend asserting other more controversial values (pro-life, anti gay marriage etc.) the more open they leave the field for secular humanism to claim these innovations.

    Secular humanism in its current form is little more than a Christian heresy, which asserts various Christian values while asserting that God does not exist.

    Rather than allow secular humanists to claim these values unopposed, and to promulgate the now widely accepted untruth that they arose “in opposition to Christianity” – (rather than from it) – Christians should actively point out that Secular humanism as we know it would not exist without Christianity.

    It is, in many respects, Christianity without God.

    Such values have no basis in truth or appeal unless they are based in Christianity, and cannot act as a bulwark against Islam. I am disappointed that, with the tentative exception of David Cameron, Christians do not claim them, instead asserting their difference from the supposedly (but not actually) secular mainstream.