Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Critique of Today's Sermon Preached by Rev. George Conger

This morning Christ Episcopal Church of Longwood, Florida had a guest minister, Rev. George Conger, from the Florida Diocese, deliver the sermon. It seemed obvious to me that he thinks he is not bound by God's Holy Scriptures or by the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. While the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are not equal in authority to Holy Scripture, they are in fact a confession of faith. Since Scripture is the final and sole authority in matters of faith and practice, there can be nothing equal to them in authority, especially church tradition. That being said, however, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are a confession of what we believe the Scriptures do in fact teach and as much as the Articles are an accurate expression of the true teaching of the Holy Scriptures they are in fact binding doctrine. Just as the creeds are binding doctrine insofar as they teach what Scripture teaches, so the Articles are a Protestant document and are binding in matters of faith because they are a "universal" or "catholic" expression of Protestant doctrine.

The first indication of an apostate minister is that he will refuse to preach the Bible and instead preach his own "story" or "experience." What becomes authoritative for faith and doctrine and practice in such a case is not Holy Scripture but the minister's personal experiences and church tradition. Anglo-Catholics and charismatics in fact hate Holy Scripture and will refuse to take it at face value. Somewhere in the sermon they will denigrate the authority of Scripture. In this case the minister threw aside the Bible and uplifted himself in its place. In one of his remarks he said that he would not "beat someone over the head with the Bible" or quote from the Prayer Book on such and such a page. Clearly, this fellow has a problem with God's Word. His view seems to be that anyone who actually believes that the Bible is God's special revelation to man is guilty of bibliolatry or worshipping the Bible. But I ask you, if the Bible is a letter from God Himself to mankind, how can it be idolatry or worship of the Bible if we take God at His Word? If God says it, we ought to believe it. Jesus says this: Matthew 4:4 (ESV) 4 But he answered, "It is written, " ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’" The Scriptures here make it plain that we do not live by every word that comes from the mouth of George Conger or from the mouth of David Knox or even from the mouth of Charlie Ray. The Scriptures declare that we are to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Ministers are fallible and God's Word is eternal, infallible, and binding upon each of us.

Over and over again, Jesus points us to the Holy Scriptures. In fact, if we count the apostles Paul, James and Peter along with Jesus Christ Himself, there are over 51 references to the Holy Scriptures in the New Testament. After the resurrection Jesus pointed to the Old Testament Scriptures as proof of who He is and that His ministry was from God:

Luke 24:27 (ESV) And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:32 (ESV) They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?"

Luke 24:45 (ESV) Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

Brethren, anytime a minister gets up to preach and never once opens the Bible to expound and explain the Word of God, that ought to be a red flag. Any true minister of God will follow the example of Jesus Christ and explain to the disciples more fully the teachings of the Bible about Jesus Christ.

The second point I would like to make is that the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion in fact state that only Scripture gives us any doctrine of salvation and justification that is binding:

Article VI
Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scripture for Salvation

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

In the name of Holy Scripture, we do understand those Canonical books of the Old and New testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church. ...

Also, even more to the point, the first eight articles of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are called "catholic." That is they are to be universally accepted. And contrary to Rome and Anglo-Catholicism/Tractarianism, the "catholic" faith is Protestant and teaches that the Bible alone is the sufficient rule for faith and practice. We are not obligated to believe man's traditions or the traditions of Rome or the traditions of Anglo-Catholics. We are bound to believe only what can be proved straight from the Bible. Liberalism and the charismatics believe man's experience is equal in authority to God's Word, the Holy Bible. However, the one true and catholic faith teaches that the Bible is the final word in all matters of faith and in matters of salvation. Obviously, our guest speaker today does not believe that. He believes that the Anglo-Catholic view is equal to Holy Scripture.

Another point on which I disagreed with the minister today is that he implied that there is a purgatory by his telling of a joke where the pope, Billy Graham, and Oral Roberts were sent to hell for thirty days before they could be admitted to heaven. However, Article XXII clearly says there is no purgatory. The minister also implied in the joke that the "sacraments have efficacy" to save even the devil. This is complete and utter nonsense. The sacraments are tokens and signs of something beyond the bread and the wine. The signs point to a greater reality which is the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. Where there is no true faith the signs and tokens do not effectively convey anything at all to the recipients. Thus, the signs cannot have the power to save the devil or anyone else apart from a true faith in Jesus Christ and his atoning death on the cross. It is Christ and Him crucified which saves us. And the signs always point to Jesus Christ and the cross.

Furthermore, the minister, George Conger said that there are seven sacraments. This is in direct contradiction to the "catholic" faith which is expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion:

Article XXV

Of the Sacraments

Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace and God's good will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in Him.

There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.

Those five, commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not the like nature of Sacraments with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, have they a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as S. Paul saith.

I might further point out that George Conger said that God is not in control of all that happens. He therefore does not agree with the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion or the Holy Scriptures on that point of doctrine as well. The Bible clearly teaches the sovereignty of God in places like Isaiah 45:7; Ephesians 1:11; Romans 11:33; Hebrews 6:17; Romans 9:15- 18). And the doctrine of predestination is clearly taught both in Scripture (Ephesians 1:4-5, 9, 11; Romans 8:30; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9) and in Article XVII of the Thirty-Nine Articles.

I might also point out that all suffering in this world is the result of the fall of Adam. Not only is this taught in the Bible (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 5:12-14; Deuteronomy 28:58-61; 29:22-24; Romans 8:18-23) but it is also taught in Article IX:

Of Original or Birth Sin

Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated, whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh), is not subject to the law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust hath itself the nature of sin.

The vanity and pride of man is always the source of pelagianism. Man wants to think he is equal with God so man preaches that we can do the things God does. Man wants to be powerful like God so man preaches that "baptism" of the Holy Spirit makes you like God. But the Bible teaches the opposite. Every Christian is baptized with the Holy Spirit at conversion. If you are a Christian you have already been baptized with the Holy Spirit. However, the minister today suggested that baptism with the Holy Spirit is something in addition to regeneration and conversion. The Bible clearly says that all Christians have the Holy Spirit and are baptized with the Holy Spirit:

Matthew 3:11 (ESV) 11 "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mark 16:16 (ESV) 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 1:5 (ESV) 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

Acts 2:38 (ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:41 (ESV) 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Acts 10:47 (ESV) 47 "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"

Romans 6:3 (ESV) 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

1 Corinthians 12:13 (ESV) 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Galatians 3:27 (ESV) 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Titus 3:5-7 (ESV) 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The problem today is that there are many false prophets who wish to steer people away from God's Word. They wish to steer people away from the catholic faith which is confessed in the Protestant views expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.

I would also say that part of the problem today is the departure of the Episcopal Church USA from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer is full of Anglo-Catholic doctrines in the liturgy and out and out pelagianism in the catechism. It is no wonder that the Episcopal Church has gone liberal. But in my opinion, the so-called "conservatives" who are starting the new common cause partnerships and the new province, The Anglican Church in North America, are in fact dissimulators who hide the fact that they do not like the Protestant faith or the low church side of Anglicanism. Anglo-Catholics would like to usurp the authority of the Bible and re-interpret the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion by using Tract 90 as a commentary on the Articles. This is not only dishonest and misleading but it is to present another gospel which is not the Gospel at all. Moreover, the Homily on Justification clearly contradicts Tract 90 when it is read in its entirety. The misquoting of the Homily by John Henry Newman was so obviously out of context that Newman was finally forced to quit the Anglican Church and become a Roman Catholic.

I cannot judge any man's soul. However, I can judge the man's doctrine. It is obvious to me that Rev. George Conger's sympathies lie with the Anglo-Catholics and not with God's Holy Scriptures, which are the final word in all matters of justification, faith, and salvation.

In his writings on the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer once said:
Now let the papists show some authority for their opinion, either of Scripture, or of some ancient author. And let them not constrain all men to follow their fond devices, only because they say it is so, without any other ground or authority but their own bare words. For in such wise credit is to be given to God's Word only, and not to the word of any man. [The Work of Thomas Cranmer. "The Third Book Teacheth the Manner How Christ Is Present in His Supper." The Courtney Library of Reformation Classics. Ed. G.E. Duffield. (Berkshire: Sutton Courtney Press, 1964). Page 144].



Billy said...

I really do take offense to the constant bashing of Anglo-Catholics on this blog. To say, and I quote, "anglo-catholics and charismatics in fact hate Holy Scripture" is at the very best hyperbole and at worst an outright lie. I love holy Scripture. It is the Word of the Lord, inerrant in its original manuscripts, and infallibe in its teaching.
I really don't think I'm as anglo-catholic as some, but since you call me an anglo-catholic virtually every time I post something, I suppose by inference you think I hate holy Scripture.
That could not be farther from the truth.
The preacher at my seminary graduation, Bishop Moyer, who I'm sure you're familiar with, gave a stirring defense of the Scriptures in his address to the gradautes. I'm sure he would take offence to what you have written.

Anyway, the guest preacher seems to have been a generally poor theologian. While I have a high regard for the efficacy of the sacraments there are only so, as you rightly point out, when "mixed with faith." Satan can't be saved...and more to the point, he does not desire it. Milton was correct. For Satan and the reprobate it is "better to reign in Hell, than serve in heaven."

And the description of purgatory, forbidden by the Articles, if it were described as you say, is not even a good representation of the Roman understanding of the intermediate stage.

Anyhow, I was sorry to see the video of Billy Graham. This is one point that C.S. Lewis has never convinced me on, and I don't want to be convinced. I readily admit that "God has mercy on whom he will have mercy" and that that might include some Jews, Muslims, or others. But to preach that, or say that I "cannot be God", when God himself in the flesh was quite clear that it is only in his name and through him that salvation exists, is a rejection of the responsibility with which the Christian minister is invested.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Billy, you are not offended by what I have said. What has offended you is the Gospel. There is only one Gospel. You can either follow the false gospel presented by Rome and by the Tractarians or you can follow the Gospel as it is defined in Holy Scripture and secondarily in the 39 Articles. Tract 90 is NOT a commentary on the Articles; it is a total distortion of the intended and plain meaning of the Articles.

The Articles teach justification by faith ALONE. Period. Nothing added. Good works are a fruit of true conversion, not the basis for them.

Have you read the Cambridge Declaration? It is an Evangelical document challenging Evangelicalism to return to the foundation, justification by faith. Sadly, even broad Evangelicalism has been deceived by those who have forgotten what the Protestant and English Reformations were about!

I'm sorry if you're offended. However, I will call it like I see it. I do not believe Roman Catholics who accept the teaching of their church are saved. They need to be convinced of the Gospel because in fact they have embraced another gospel which is no gospel at all. I can with confidence assert the same of Anglo-Catholics. They give a great show of piety but inwardly they are wolves. They will pretend to accept Scripture but they then twist it to their own destruction.

You can read the Cambridge Declaration here: http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/cambridge.html

Billy said...


It only takes about 10 minutes to read through the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Justifification, Grace, and Merit.

I would like you to look over it, particularly paragraphs 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2001, especially 2005,2007-2010 (which for anyone reading honestly clearly says no one can merit justification and forgiveness at the beginning of conversion)

The whole "In brief" section is also good. But I would particularly commend to your reading P. 2022 which I think is one of the greatest modern explications of grace I have read.

The teaching of the Catholic church is that conversion to Christianity comes by grace through faith and in submission to Baptism. That seems pretty darn biblical to me.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I have read the Roman Catholic Catechism on justification. And not once does it mention justification by faith alone. Show me just one place where it says sola fide. The real problem here is you have no understanding of what the Protestant Reformation was all about. The RCC view is that justification is by grace alone up to the point of baptism. After baptism if you sin you must now merit your justification by doing penances. And if you commit a mortal sin you're in danger of hellfire. The Reformed view is that justication is by grace alone from beginning to end. ONLY the merits of Christ can justify you because ALL sins are mortal sins. There is no distinction between venial and mortal sins in the Bible.

Protestants distinguish between justification and sanctification. If you had read the 39 Articles you would know this.

Did you even bother to read the Cambridge Declaration? Do you know that the Canons of the Council of Trent anathematize the Gospel? Anyone who says that justification is by faith alone is cursed according to the RCC. That is the official doctrine.

Charlie J. Ray said...

William, I also noticed that you qualified your statement that "no one can merit justification and forgiveness at the beginning of conversion."

This is precisely where Rome gets it wrong. Their view is that justification and sanctification are one and the same. So justification rather than being an imputed rigtheousness declared by legal decree, it is rather a righteousness infused into the heart. Thus, sins committed after baptism must be paid for by penances. Thus, Christ did not pay for all your sins. Now you have to pay for your sins committed after baptism. Thus, salvation is earned or merited by the believer rather than Christ. However, this contradicts the Articles of Religion which clearly says that no one can merit justification even AFTER baptism.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I have no idea who Bishop Moyer is and I do not know what seminary you attended.

Billy said...

Bishop Moyer is the rector of Good Shepherd Rosemont...which is probably the most famous anglo-catholic parish in the United States. I assumed you knew that, and I apologize. I didn't mean to try and sound know-it-all or anything.

As for some of your comments, I look forward to your discussion of the Roman Catechism. I don't agree with everything in it, but the pieces on justification I do find mostly satisfying. You asked me to show you one place in the catechism where it mentions sola fide.

I admit that I can't. But I would like you to show me in the Scriptures where this phrase occurs. Because I can show you a place where it explicitly says we are not justified by faith alone.

Now I know you are probably already forming your response to that comment saying that I am ignoring the context. But I don't think that I am. Because I believe that faith is the only instrument that can justify. We can't merit justification. But I also know that faith by itself, without obedience, dies. A dead faith cannot operate to receive grace.

That obedience to the will of God is a product of grace also. But we have to respond to that grace. When we choose not to respond to it, that is what I call sin. If we persist in sin, we fall away.
So we are never justified by a "faith that is alone", though we are justified by faith alone.

Justification in the Catholic tradition rightly has two meanings, for they are two expressed in the New Testament. I saw in another article that you referenced the ECT and ECT II documents. In Para. 7 of ECT II is the confession that "In justification, God, on the basis of Christ's righteousness alone, declares us to be no longer his rebellious enemies but his forgiven friends, and by virtue of his declaration it is so."

That seems to me to be a stirring defense of forensic justification on the grounds of Christ's righteousness, and a view concerned not with perfection of the human but with recognition that we are just, because the Father says so.

But you want it to stop there, even though the New Testament does not. The publican in Luke 18 is referred to as justified after confessing his sins. The penitential act of asking for mercy was not what justified him but the the work (future still at that point) of Christ. In the same way, Catholics believe justification to be an ongoing process whereby the sinner is truly being made more just, not by the action of penance but by the work of Christ which is received through penance. So that the righteousness of Christ is both imputed and infused.
If we didn't confess our sins and do penance, how can we lay claim to the promises of Christ? Of course if one died after committing sin he would be taken to heaven, but we cannot continue in sin as long as we live and hope to attain to everlasting life.

So yes, penance is absolutely necessary for salvation. Not because we merit justification, but because the sinner must first by grace empty himself of his pride and then humbly ask for forgiveness.

I guess my whole point can be summed up this way: everything is grace. There is nothing within the sinner to make us desire God, and there is no way for us to be good without God's grace. But our response to grace must be "God be merciful to me a sinner." If it is not, we won't be becoming more just. Rather, because of our pride, we will not be persevering but regressing.
The legal declaration would still be standing, but I believe based on Luke 18, Jas. 2, and other Scripture that we must also have this other form of justification as well.

Hope that's clear...it's kind of late.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Billy, I appreciate your response. There are so many points here that are so obviously based on a misconception of my position that it would take days to adequately respond to them all. However, I will try to briefly address them.

First of all, I should remind you that ECT was signed by both Protestant and Catholic scholars. The reason I object to the document is the obvious ambiguity. It does not deal with the true teaching of either side as your misunderstanding of the quote you gave shows. First off, both Catholics and Protestants can agree with that statement because both sides DO believe that statement. Let me explain. It "seems" to support the Protestant side but it really does not because it does not deal with the Roman Catholic side of that issue. Roman Catholic teaching DOES believe there is a forensic declaration of not guilty in justification. But it does not stop there. It also includes an inherent justification where righteousness is infused into the heart and soul. In other words up to the point of baptism, according to the Roman Catholic view, your sins are wiped out by a forensic declaration and you are declared not guilty. Every Protestant and Catholic can agree with that.

Where we part ways is that the Catholic view confuses sanctification with justification and makes our justification AFTER the point of baptism a matter of infused righteousness or sanctification. Thus, when you sin, now you must do penance to merit your forgiveness for every sin committed after baptism. This is precisely where the Reformed/Lutheran view would strongly disagree. We say that justification is ALWAYS AND FOREVER forensic/legal and NEVER a matter of inherent or infused righteousness.

The real problem here, Billy, if I may be so blunt as to say so, is that WE Protestants understand your position better than you do. AND you do not even understand our position properly. If you're going to refute the other side, you must first understand your own side properly, which you do not. And then you must properly understand the opposing side properly, which you do not.

We do not for one minute propose antinomianism or lawlessness. However, we do recognize that sanctification is NOT the basis or ground for our justification before God in the final judgment. Justification is by faith alone. Thus, the moment I believe I am forgiven. I am justified. I am worthy of heaven because Jesus lived a perfect life for me and merited heaven for me when I could not. My works will never be enough to merit salvation or pay for even ONE sin. ALL sins from the perspective of our justification are MORTAL SINS.

There is no distinction because even one sin makes us unworthy of heaven. Thus, penance can never merit your forgiveness for even one sin committed after baptism. Unless you accept that Christ paid it ALL, you cannot be saved. Christ is the ONLY way to heaven, the only way of being justified since He paid for all your sins on the cross.

While justification is always and forever a forensic/legal declaration and is something outside of ourselves in the objective atonement of Christ and His perfect obedience, sanctification is both a legal separation from sin and is also declared in the sense that we are by virtue of God's covenant set apart to be holy vessels. That is the intial point at conversion. However, after that, since we remain sinful human beings while at the same time being made new creations in Christ, our sanctification, which IS inherent in the heart and soul, begins to progress in our maturity toward Christ and being like Him. We never arrive completely in this life. We progress and backslide and then go forward a few more steps. We are never entirely sanctified and we must always press on toward the higher mark in Christ. We can never be satisfied but must push onward because Christ is perfect and we are not. At the hour of our death we are then sinless. Sin is anything omitted, commmitted against God. It is anything that is done in ignorance or any sinful thought in the heart. Sin is basically anything in us or done or not done by us that is contradictory to God's moral law, the mark of perfection. Thus, no human being can meet that mark which is WHY NONE OF YOUR PENANCES ARE ENOUGH. Of course, in this life we must do restitution to repay our neighbor but regarding God, it is an offense to say that we can add ANYTHING to what Christ did in living a sinless and perfectly obedient life. It is an offense to the cross to say that penance adds to anything Christ did to pay the penalty for our sins. Catholics agree with us up to the point of baptism but after that point they depart from the Gospel.

Regarding Luke 18, the text NEVER once mentions penance. Your doctrine of penance is represented by the Pharisee. "God look at all the wonderful things I have done." Not one of your penances will merit you even one divine favor from God. Unless you realize how sinful, unworthy, and evil you are in your soul you can never be saved. Until you reach the point of the wicked tax collector and realize there is nothing you could do to repay for all of your sinful wickedness before God, you cannot be saved. Until you reach the end of your own righteousness and accept that only the righteousness of Christ imputed to you can save you, only then can you be saved. As long as you trust in your own works of righteousness, which are unacceptable to God, you cannot be saved.

You, like the tax collector, must cry out for mercy. Mercy means you can't do anything to make restitution or do penance or anything else. Your soul literally depends upon God's mercy.

The tax collector is essentially confessing that he cannot save himself, which is why he asks for mercy. He confesses he is without merit or hope while the Pharisee appeals to his own self righteousness. You, Billy, are the Pharisee in the parable. I am the tax collector. I depend solely on God's mercy while you attempt to deny that you are wicked and that only God's mercy can save you.

While sanctification is necessary for evidence to other men that we have been truly saved, it is not and can NEVER be the basis for our justification before God. Why? Because you never get there.

Consider that a ship is in the middle of the ocean. It is sinking. There are no life boats. Everyone must swim to shore. Most drown right away. They can't swim. Several others swim 20 or 30 yards and drown. They are not good swimmers. Then we have some good swimmers. They make it a mile. They too drown. Finally, two olympic swimmers are left and they alone. But after 25 miles and no food or water, they too drown. The point is NO ONE has the strength or the merit to do enough penance to reach the shore. Heaven, if you will. All your efforts end in failure. Until you realize this, you cannot be saved because in fact you are not trusting in Christ at all. You are trusting in your own ability and your own efforts which always fall short.

And finally, I want to say that your view is the semi-pelagian view. You believe your faith is your own and that your faith is the initiating factor in salvation. Wrong again.

The real problem here is that you are spiritually dead! A dead man cannot believe anything because he is DEAD. Hello! Unless and until you are regenerated FIRST you will NEVER believe or have faith in the first place. What do you have that you did not receive?? You must be born again. Guess what? YOU don't make yourself born again by believing. GOD makes you born again and you are PASSIVE in that regeneration. Until you are regenerated (see John 3), you cannot and will not have faith, repent or be converted. This is why the vast majority of people in the world are not Christians. They have not been regenerated by God's Spirit who comes and goes at His sovereign discretion. We preach the Word to all but only God can regenerate a dead man. Only God can raise the dead. Salvation is a miracle of God. It is not a natural work of man where man has some inherent ability to choose or reject Christ. No, there is no free will for all are slaves to sin and blinded and hardened by the fall and by their own rebellion. Only God can break through that blindness.

Billy, all your religion cannot save you. Unless and until you come to the end of your own resources, your own righteousness, you cannot be saved. You must stop trusting in your own penances to justify you and throw yourself upon the mercy of God to save you.

As for your question about sola fide? The doctrine of the trinity is taught in the Bible and so are all the doctrines of grace in regards to the ordo salutis. Justification by faith alone is taught over and over in Romans and in Galatians. I would argue that James is speaking of sanctification and is to be interpreted in the light of the Gospels and the Pauline epistles. One small verse in James cannot overturn the entire corpus of the Pauline epistles nor the parables of Christ Himself. When we have done all we have merely done our duty. We can never do enough to merit eternal life or pay the price of even one sin. There is no such thing as going above and beyond the call of duty (Luke 17:7-10).

I would challenge you to go back and read the 39 Articles IX-XVIII and read them in the light of what I have just said. You will see that the Anglo-Catholic reading of those articles are essentially lies. The historical context and the biblical background for the Articles are thoroughly PROTESTANT AND REFORMED. Tract 90 is one huge propaganda piece designed to make the Articles say what they have NEVER said. I take them at face value and I do not read ANYTHING into them that is not there. Until you do this, you're not an Anglican but you are a Roman Catholic. If you really believe the Anglo-Catholic heresy, then you should become a Roman Catholic. As Paul says, "Emasculate yourself." What you're really believing is the judaizers and not the Gospel.

I hope this helps you understand better what is at stake here and what the real issues are.


Charlie J. Ray said...

Billy, just one more comment. The Bible never says, "Do penance after baptism." What it does says is "repent." There is a world of difference between the two terms. Repentance has several aspects. It is a turning away from sin and turning toward God and Jesus Christ. It is a change in heart and attitude away from the patterns of this world and toward a Christian life. But repentance is also a turning away from trusting in your own righteousness and instead trusting in the righteousness of Christ and His mercy.

Romans 10:1-4 (ESV)
1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Titus 3:5-7 (ESV)
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Romans 4:4-5 (ESV)
4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Billy said...

By doing penance I do not mean some prescribed action by a priest, but rather confession of sin and doing something to mortify the flesh for the purpose of not returning to that sin...just to be clear.

Charlie J. Ray said...

That should have been "say" instead of "says."

Anyway, your view is still one involving a penance that merits something. The best prayer to prayer is an Augustinian prayer from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. In the Lord's Supper service in the 1662 BCP, the Decalogue is recited at the beginning and after each reciting of a commandment this prayer is prayed: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law. At the end the prayer is: Lord, have mercy upon us, and write all these thy laws in our hearts, we beseech thee.

The point being that we cannot keep the law without God's empowering grace given to us specifically and individually. Augustine once said, "Lord, command what you will and grant what you command."

The confession in the 1662 BCP for Holy Communion is: LMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sound familiar. There is no pride here. The sinner asks God to grant him or her special grace to do what God commands. This is Augustinian and it emphasizes the fact that God monergistically works in our hearts to keep His moral law. Even mortifying the flesh can only be done if God grants the grace to do so.

All the glory goes to God and not to us and our efforts.


William said...

Hello all. First off I want to note that I am not an "Anglo-catholic" (although the term is used so loosely that I don't know if it really matters), and I don't have any desire to defend the Roman Catholic's Catechism. I am firmly Augustinian and affirm justification by faith alone (through the penal substitution of Christ) as true teaching of Scripture and the Ancient Catholic Church.

I did think it might be helpful to comment on a certain point though.

Charles Ray said regarding "mortal sins":
The RCC view is...if you commit a mortal sin you're in danger of hellfire. The Reformed view is that justication is by grace alone from beginning to end. ONLY the merits of Christ can justify you because ALL sins are mortal sins. There is no distinction between venial and mortal sins in the Bible.

It is true that all sins are mortal inasmuch as they deserve eternal damnation without the Blood of Christ covering them. But it is also true that there are "mortal" or deadly sins (or states of sin) which fatally choke a living, saving faith. And this is not contrary to justification by faith alone and monergism. Augustine, Luther, and the Anglican Articles/Homilies/BCP all affirm such mortal or deadly sins or states of sin as being a Scriptural reality (of course, as Augustine, Luther, etc affirmed-- those who are the Eternally Elect Good Ground do not have the new life begotten within them through the eternal Word of God utterly extinguished as is the case in the Weedy and Stony Ground).

Continued on following post.

William said...

Continued from above.

From a previous post:
And there is the similar issue for many low church men with the “deadly” or “mortal” sin taught in the Articles/Homilies/BCP (Article 16, and throughout the Homilies, sins which cause the loss of the Holy Spirit are spoken of).

As Latimer states briefly in relation to the subject:
The Seventh Sermon of M. Latimer preached before King Edward, April nineteenth, 1549]:
“Remember, God must be honoured. I will you to pray, that God will continue his Spirit in you. I do not put you in comfort, that if ye have once the Spirit, ye cannot lose it. There be new spirits start up now of late, that say, after we have received the Spirit, we cannot sin. I will make but one argument: St Paul had brought the Galatians to the profession of the faith, and left them in that state; they had received the Spirit once, but they sinned again, as he testified of them himself: he saith, Currebatis bene; ye were once in a right state: and again, Recepistis Spiritum ex operibus legis an ex justitia fidei ? Once they had the Spirit by faith ; but false prophets came, when he was gone from them, and they plucked them clean away from all that Paul had planted them in: and then said Paul unto them, O stulti Galati, quis vos fascinavit? “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?” If this be true, we may lose the Spirit that we have once possessed.”
The Entire Sermon can be read here:

In the following passage Latimer describes in further detail the “deadly” (or, “mortal” sin) spoken of in Article 16, and in particular the “deadly sin” of fornication spoken of in the BCP Litany (of course Latimer affirmed the “Augustinian” teaching in Article 17 that the Elect Good Ground or Vessels of Honor, do not fall utterly from Salvation as other men but ultimately persevere to the end).

“But there be two manner of sins: there is a deadly sin, and a venial sin; that is, sins that be pardonable, and sins that be not pardonable. Now how shall we know which be venial sins, or which be not ? for it is good to know them, and so to keep us from them. When ye will know which be deadly sins or not, you must first understand, that there be two manner of men: when I say men, I understand also under the name of men
women, that is, all mankind: and so doth scripture understand women by this word men; for else we should not find in scripture that we should baptize women, for the scripture saith, Baptizate eos, ” Baptize them.” He speaketh in the masculine gender only. Also, Nisi quis renatus fuerit ex spiritu et aqua, ” Except a man be born again through spirit and water.” Here is made no mention of women, yet they be understood in it: for the salvation and everlasting life pertaineth as well unto faithful women as it doth unto faithful men ; for he suffered as well for the women, as he did for the men. God would have them both to be saved, the men and the women: so ye see that this word men signifieth or containeth both kinds, the man and women, at some times, though not always. But I say there be two manner of men: some there be that be not justified, not regenerate, nor yet in the state of salvation; that is to say, not God’s servants : they lack the renovation or regeneration ; they be not come yet to Christ. Now these persons who be they that be not come yet to Christ, or if they were come to Christ, be fallen again from him, and so lost their justification, (as there be many of us, which when we fall willingly into sin against conscience, we lose the favour of God, our salvation, and finally the Holy Ghost;) all they now that be out of the favour of God, and are not sorry for it, sin grieveth them not, they purpose to go forward in it; all those that intend not to leave their sins, are out of the favour of God, and so all their works, whatsoever they do, be deadly sins : for as long as they be in purpose to sin, they sin deadly in all their doings. Therefore, when we will speak of the diversity of sins, we must speak of those that be regenerated and made new, and clean from their sins through Christ. Which be venial sins? Every sin that is committed against God not wittingly, nor willingly ; not consenting unto it : those be venial sins. As for an ensample : I see a fair woman, I am moved in my heart to sin with her, to commit the act of lechery with her : such thoughts rise out of my heart, but I consent not unto them ; I withstand these ill motions, I follow the ensample of that godly young man, Joseph ; I consider in what estate I am, namely, a temple of God, and that I should lose the Holy Ghost; on such wise I withstand my ill lusts and appetites, yet this motion in my heart is sin ; this ill lust which riseth up ; but it is a venial sin, it is not a mortal sin, because I consent not unto it, I withstand it ; and such venial sins the just man committeth daily. For scripture saith, Septiea cadit Justus, ” The righteous man falleth seven times;” that is, oftentimes: for his works are not so perfect as they ought to be. For I pray you, who is he that loveth his neighbour so perfectly and vehemently as he ought to do? Now this imperfection is sin, but it is a venial sin, not a mortal : therefore he that feeleth his imperfections, feeleth the ill1 motions in his heart, but followeth them not, consenteth not unto the wickedness are to do them ; these be venial sins, which shall not be unto us to our damnation…I put the case, Joseph had not resisted the temptations of his master’s wife, but had followed her, and fulfilled the act of lechery with her ; had weighed the matter after a worldly fashion, thinking, “I have my mistress’s favour already, and so by that mean I shall have my master’s favour too ; nobody knowing of it.” Now if he had done so, this act had been a deadly sin ; for any act that is done against the law of God willingly and if sin have wittingly, is a deadly sin. And that man or woman that committeth such an act, loseth the Holy Ghost and the remission of sins ; and so becometh the child of the devil, being before the child of God. For a regenerate man or woman, that believeth, ought to have dominion over sin ; but as soon as sin hath rule over him, he is gone: for she leadeth him to delectation of it, and from delectation to consenting, and so from consenting to the act itself. Now he that is led so with sin, he is in the state of damnation, and sinneth damnably. And so ye may perceive which be they that sin deadly, and what is the deadly sin; namely, that he sinneth deadly that wittingly falleth in sin: therefore it is a perilous thing to be in such an estate, to be in the state of damnation and everlasting perdition.”
The entire Sermon can be read here:

And he speaks likewise on the subject in his other Sermons.

Blessings in Christ,
William Scott

p.s. On another somewhat related issue-namely "Baptismal regeneation." The 1552/1559 BCP states:
“And that no man shall think that any detriment shall come to children by deferring of their Confirmation; he shall know for truth, that it is certain by God’s word, that children being baptized, have all things necessary for their salvation, and be undoubtedly saved.”

This “certain” and “undoubted” Salvation of the child in Baptism (which the Articles/Homilies teach as causing the child to be “justified”/cleansed from “original sin” as stated in the Homily of Justification*) is in sharp contrast to the “presumption,” for example, expressed in the Burial Service of the 1552/1559 BCP (where it is expressly said that it is “our hope” that the deceased is with the Lord and not “certain” or “undoubted” as the Baptized child’s receiving of Salvation is expressly stated to be).

Of course, more rigidly Calvinist Churchman have applied a “looser” interpretation of the historic BCP for a long time on this point (for example, Bishop Ussher who preferred to read the Service of Baptism in a “presumptive” sense–in contrast, for example, with the moderate Calvinist Divines Samuel Ward and the Bishop of Salisbury John Davenant who corresponded with Ussher on Baptismal efficacy and insisted in their writings on maintaining the actual “non-presumptive” teaching of the BCP on Baptism).

p.p.s. *Portions alluded to above from the Homily of Justification (cited in the 39 Articles for the expounding of the Articles’ teaching on justification):
“…we must trust only in God’s mercy, and that sacrifice which our high priest and Savior Christ Jesus, the son of God, once offered for us upon the cross, to obtain thereby God’s grace, and remission, as well of our original sin in baptism, as of all actual sin committed by us after our baptism, if we truly repent and turn unfeignedly to him again.”

“Our office is not to pass the time of this present life unfruitfully and idly after we are baptized or justified, not caring how few good works we do to the glory of God and profit of our neighbors. Much less is it our office, after that we be once made Christ’s members, to live contrary to the same, making our selves members of the devil, walking after his incitements, and after the suggestions of the world and the flesh, whereby we know that we do serve the world and the devil, and not God.”

William said...

Tail end of the last post on the Homily of Justification:
[i.e. we enter into the remission of sins in Baptism and through a living faith (producing repentance) we continually and freely participate in the remission of sins in the Blood of Christ--and if we cease from a living faith we cease to be members of Christ, and instead make ourselves “members of the devil."]

Blessings in Christ,
William Scott

Charlie J. Ray said...

Billy, Latimer is most likely speaking of those described in Hebrews 6 who once tasted of the Holy Spirit but now are apostate. Calvin himself recognized that apostasy is the one sin that is against the Holy Spirit and is therefore unforgivable. It does not mean that salvation was lost. What it means is that these people were genuine members of the visible church and partook of the sacraments and had every appearance of true conversion. But like the parable of the 4 kinds of soil, they did not endure to the end.

Secondly, fornication is a sin that would show a person had not truly been converted unless they repent. Such a person who refuses to repent is in a state of either a backslidden elect person who will be brought to repentance by the Holy Spirit, such as David in the OT, or the person will remain unrepentant and therefore apostate. In that sense, some sins are more severe than others because they separate us from fellowship in the church and deserve excommunication. However, such sins are only deadly if they are not repented of. There is need for repentance but not for penance. Penance is an entirely different doctrine altogether.

There is only one unforgivable sin. It is unbelief.

Calvin gives a very good description of this sort sin:

22. Here, however, it is proper to consider what the dreadful iniquity is which is not to be pardoned. The definition which Augustine somewhere gives325—viz. that it is obstinate perverseness, with distrust of pardon, continued till death,—scarcely agrees with the words of Christ, that it shall not be forgiven in this world. For either this is said in vain, or it may be committed in this world. But if Augustine’s definition is correct, the sin is not committed unless persisted in till death. Others say, that the sin against the Holy Spirit consists in envying the grace conferred upon a brother; but I know not on what it is founded. Here, however, let us give the true definition, which, when once it is established by sound evidence, will easily of itself overturn all the others. I say therefore that he sins against the Holy Spirit who, while so constrained by the power of divine truth that he cannot plead ignorance, yet deliberately resists, and that merely for the sake of resisting. For Christ, in explanation of what he had said, immediately adds, “Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him,” (Mt. 12:31). And Matthew uses the term spirit of blasphemy326 for blasphemy against the Spirit. How can any one insult the Son, without at the same time attacking the Spirit? In this way. Those who in ignorance assail the unknown truth of God, and yet are so disposed that they would be unwilling to extinguish the truth of God when manifested to them, or utter one word against him whom they knew to be the Lord’s Anointed, sin against the Father and the Son. Thus there are many in the present day who have the greatest abhorrence to the doctrine of the Gospel, and yet, if they knew it to be the doctrine of the Gospel, would be prepared to venerate it with their whole heart. But those who are convinced in conscience that what they repudiate and impugn is the word of God, and yet cease not to impugn it, are said to blaspheme against the Spirit, inasmuch as they struggle against the illumination which is the work of the Spirit. Such were some of the Jews, who, when they could not resist the Spirit speaking by Stephen, yet were bent on resisting (Acts 6:10). There can be no doubt that many of them were carried away by zeal for the law; but it appears that there were others who maliciously and impiously raged against God himself, that is, against the doctrine which they knew to be of God.
Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1996). Institutes of the Christian religion (electronic ed.) (III, iii, 22). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Also, Calvin says regarding those who appear to be Christians but leave the faith:

23. If you attend properly, you will perceive that the Apostle speaks not of one particular lapse or two, but of the universal revolt by which the reprobate renounce salvation. It is not strange that God should be implacable to those whom John, in his Epistle, declares not to have been of the elect, from whom they went out (1 John 2:19). For he is directing his discourse against those who imagined that they could return to the Christian religion though they had once revolted from it. To divest them of this false and pernicious opinion, he says, as is most true, that those who had once knowingly and willingly cast off fellowship with Christ, had no means of returning to it. It is not, however so cast off by those who merely, by the dissoluteness of their lives, transgress the word of the Lord, but by those who avowedly reject his whole doctrine. There is a paralogism in the expression casting off and sinning. Casting off, as interpreted by the Novatians, is when any one, notwithstanding of being taught by the Law of the Lord not to steal or commit adultery, refrains not from theft or adultery. On the contrary, I hold that there is a tacit antithesis, in which all the things, contrary to those which had been said, must be held to be repeated, so that the thing expressed is not some particular vice, but universal aversion to God, and (so to speak) the apostasy of the whole man. Therefore, when he speaks of those falling away “who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,” we must understand him as referring to those who, with deliberate impiety, have quenched the light of the Spirit, tasted of the heavenly word and spurned it, alienated themselves from the sanctification of the Spirit, and trampled under foot the word of God and the powers of a world to come. The better to show that this was the species of impiety intended, he afterwards expressly adds the term willfully. For when he says, “If we sin willfully, after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” he denies not that Christ is a perpetual victim to expiate the transgressions of saints (this the whole Epistle, in explaining the priesthood of Christ, distinctly proclaims), but he says that there remains no other sacrifice after this one is abandoned. And it is abandoned when the truth of the Gospel is professedly abjured.

Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1996). Institutes of the Christian religion (electronic ed.) (III, iii, 23). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

What Calvin is saying here is that the faith has to be utterly rejected in order to commit an unforgivable or unpardonable sin. Fornication is not unforgivable. But refusing to repent and refusing to come back to Christ is unforgivable.

Hope that helps.

But Billy, you told me before that you were an Anglo-Catholic. I am encouraged that you're now repudiating that position at least to some degree.



Charlie J. Ray said...

24. To some it seems harsh, and at variance with the divine mercy, utterly to deny forgiveness to any who retake themselves to it. This is easily disposed of. It is not said that pardon will be refused if they turn to the Lord, but it is altogether denied that they can turn to repentance, inasmuch as for their ingratitude they are struck by the just judgment of God with eternal blindness. There is nothing contrary to this in the application which is afterwards made of the example of Esau, who tried in vain, by crying and tears, to recover his lost birthright; nor in the denunciation of the Prophet, “They cried, and I would not hear.” Such modes of expression do not denote true conversion or calling upon God, but that anxiety with which the wicked, when in calamity, are compelled to see what they before securely disregarded—viz. that nothing can avail but the assistance of the Lord. This, however, they do not so much implore as lament the loss of. Hence all that the Prophet means by crying, and the apostle by tears, is the dreadful torment which stings and excruciates the wicked in despair. It is of consequence carefully to observe this: for otherwise God would be inconsistent with himself when he proclaims through the Prophet, that “If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed,”—“he shall surely live, he shall not die,” (Ezek. 18:21, 22). And (as I have already said) it is certain that the mind of man cannot be changed for the better unless by his preventing grace. The promise as to those who call upon him will never fail; but the names of conversion and prayer are improperly given to that blind torment by which the reprobate are distracted when they see that they must seek God if they would find a remedy for their calamities, and yet shun to approach him.

Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (1996). Institutes of the Christian religion (electronic ed.) (III, iii, 24). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Billy, no one is saying that apostasy is not possible. However, the elect will most certainly endure to the end. There are those who appear to be genuine but reveal themselves later to be apostates who were never truly regenerated. Apostasy is not a sign that there is no election. Rather, apostasy is a sign that not every member of the visible church is a member of the invisible church.

Charlie J. Ray said...

From fornication, and all other deadly sin; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,
Good Lord, deliver us.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Anyone who has read Luther clearly understands that Luther believed in double predestination. Of course the Reformers believed in apostasy. However, that is way different from saying that the elect can become unelect. That is semi-pelagianism. All of the Reformers were Augustinians and believed in double predestination and unconditional election. Also, in the future, if you are going to quote someone to support your view, please provide link for context.

Charlie J. Ray said...

In these foresaid places the Apostle toucheth specially three things, which must got together in our
justification: upon God’s part, his great mercy and grace; upon Christ’s part, justice, that is, the satisfaction
of God’s justice, or the price of our redemption by the offering of his body and shedding of his blood with
fulfilling of the law perfectly and throughly; and upon our part, true and lively faith in the merits of Jesuu
Christ; which yet is not ours but by God’s working in us.
So that in our justification is not only God’s
mercy and grace, but also his justice, which the Apostle calleth the justice of God;( 4 and it consisteth in
paying our ransom and fulfilling of the law. And so the grace of God doth not shut outx the justice of God
in our justification, but only shutteth out the justice of man, that is to say, the justice of our works, as to
be merits of deserving our justification. And therefore St. Paul declareth here nothing upon the behalf of
man concerning his justification, but only a true and lively faith; which nevertheless is the gift of God, and
not man’s only work without God.
[From the Homily on Justification. http://www.footstoolpublications.com/Homilies/Bk1_Salvation3.pdf]

William, I don't know you so you need to identify yourself. I have not had time to read Latimer's sermon but I have a suspicion that you're quoting him out of context. Clearly Cranmer says that faith is a gift and not something man works up. He is on the Augustinian side. Cranmer is the author of the homily on justification.


William said...

Hello Charlie Ray--for some reason my last post, which you are responding to, is not showing on the thread (hopefully it will shortly).

Briefly to your questions--I am a laymen and I am traditional (and what one might call a "confessional") Anglican in my beliefs. I live presently in the Jacksonville Florida area (I must say that I don't know exactly what you are looking for as far as identification is concerned).

As for the quote from Latimer in my last post (which post is not showing at present on the thread) I clearly stated that it was taken from the (longer) quote I gave in my last post (which has the link to the sermon--and I encourage you to read the sermon all the way through).

Finally as far as unconditional election, faith being fully a gift, justification being entirely unmerited, and the eternally elect (i.e. Good Ground) being unable to become unelect goes--I'm in complete agreement. And I agree with the invisible/visible Church distinction (a point I'll discuss further in a later post).

The difference we're getting at is that the Scriptures (as Augustine, Luther, etc noted) teach that there are mortal/deadly sins or states of sin which choke the life out of our faith (so that our faith ceases to be the lively, effectual instrument through which, alone, we partake continually in the perfect forensic justification in Christ's Blood) and that according to God's Sovereign Will many "unelect" are under God's grace in Christ for a time in this life even as many of the elect Good Ground are under God's wrath for a time in this life.

Further Scriptural reasons for this (as stated previously will be given later when I get the chance).

Anyway--I've got to be heading off to Church right now.

Have a blessed Lord's Day.

William Scott

Charlie J. Ray said...

William said, "The difference we're getting at is that the Scriptures (as Augustine, Luther, etc noted) teach that there are mortal/deadly sins or states of sin which choke the life out of our faith (so that our faith ceases to be the lively, effectual instrument through which, alone, we partake continually in the perfect forensic justification in Christ's Blood) and that according to God's Sovereign Will many "unelect" are under God's grace in Christ for a time in this life even as many of the elect Good Ground are under God's wrath for a time in this life."

I can agree with most of what you have said here except for the main point. The reprobate never have true faith to begin with. Their eventual apostasy proves they never had true and lively faith but rather an artificial and superficial faith. The parable of the 4 kinds of soil bears this out. (See Matthew 13:3-23).

I did not post your last comment because you did not substantiate what you were asserting. If you have read Luther's Bondage of the Will it would be hard to dispute the fact that Luther believed in double predestination.


William said...

Hello Charlie Ray,

As for the parable of the 4 soils--I firmly believe it conforms better (along with the rest of the Scripture) with the position of Augustine, Luther, etc*--Namely, that according to God's Sovereign Will the non-elect (Weedy and Stony Ground) can partake temporarily in the new life in Christ begotten through the eternal Seed of God's Word even though they ultimately fall away.

*[see Augustine's book On the Predestination of the Saints among others--and likewise the many works of Luther wherein he speaks to the issue of falling from Salvation]

--Also, the living faith and new life begotten through the Eternal Seed in the Weedy Ground is implied to have a "root" (in contrast with the Stony Ground which is marked by its lack or "root")
--And in the Gospel of Luke it is implied that the new life or living faith begotten in the Weedy Ground brings forth fruit--but not to maturity or completion (or, "perfection" as the KJV says)---This maturity or completion of fruit only occurs in the elect Good Ground which perseveres to the end (because of God's "gift of final perseverance"--as Augustine teaches--see his work the Gift of Perseverance, etc), thereby bringing its fruits to the "completion" of the time of harvest).

The rest of the Scriptural reasons can be looked at later when I get the chance. As for Luther and double predestination--I never denied that he held the position (of course how one exactly defines "double predestination" is another issue). Both Luther and Augustine held the same position as that maintained in the 1552/1559BCP on the efficacy of Baptism (as discussed in the earlier post)--namely, that all Baptized children are "undoubtedly saved." But they believed that many (i.e. the non-elect) ultimately fell thereafter from God's grace--as the Homily of Justification (as quoted previously) says regarding those who fall away after having been justified (firstly in Baptism through the washing of original sin as the Homily of Justification teaches)--i.e. that such who fall away become "members of the devil" after having been the "members of Christ."

[Now I believe the Scriptural teaching on many of the non-elect Vessels of Wrath participating in a limited and temporary way with the Elect Vessels of Mercy in the mercy of Christ (even as many Elect Vessels of Mercy participate in this life in a limited or temporary way with the non-elect Vessels of Wrath in the wrath outside of Christ)--stands regardless of one's exact position on Baptismal efficacy--though I must say that I affirm with Samuel Ward and other moderate Calvinist divines the undoubted efficacy of Baptism on the Baptized child taught in the BCP].

Blessings in Christ,
William Scott

p.s. For Luther's views on apostasy (which is the same as that expressed by Augustine, and the Anglican Articles/Homilies/BCP) the foundational reformation confession of Augsburg states:
They condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that those once justified can lose the Holy Ghost.

And Luther states in his commentary on Galatians (Gal 5:4):
Verse 4. Ye are fallen from grace.
That is to say, ye are no longer in the kingdom of grace. For like as he that is in a ship, on which side soever he falleth into the sea, is drowned, even so he which is fallen from grace must needs perish. He, therefore, that will be justified by the law, is fallen into the sea, and hath cast himself into danger of eternal death. Now, if they fall from grace which will be justified by the moral law, whither shall they fall, I pray you, which will be justified by their own traditions and vows ? Even to the bottom of hell...These words, "ye are fallen from grace," must not be coldly or slenderly considered: for they are weighty, and of great importance. He that falleth from grace, utterly loseth the atonement, the forgiveness of sins, the righteousness, liberty, and life, that Jesus Christ hath merited for us by his death and resurrection ; and, instead thereof, he purchaseth to himself the wrath and judgment of God, sin, death, the bondage of the devil, and everlasting damnation.


Charlie J. Ray said...

William, your previous quote was NOT from the Homily on Justifification. It was a quote from a sermon delivered by Latimer in 1549. BTW, the 1549 BCP still had Roman Catholic elements in it as the English Reformation was just getting underway. Therefore, Latimer's views might have changed after that point. I haven't had the chance to read the sermon that closely yet.

Second of all, the Homily on Justification never once mentions losing one's salvation. That being said, I've already pointed out that the Calvinist position allows for apostasy without true conversion.

Furthermore, quoting the Augsburg Confession only proves Phillip Melanchthon's position, not Luther's position. Melanchthon went much further than Luther did.

Your quote from Luther does not prove that Luther believed the "elect" could fall! It only proves that he believed it is possible to partake of the means of grace and have every appearance of participation with the Holy Ghost and yet to fall from grace. This is referencing Hebrews 6 which Calvin deals with as the unpardonable sin or apostasy. It is the same as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Your quote from Luther is against good works as a means of justification, which to Luther is the same as apostasy! Luther is essentially condemning the Roman Catholic position as apostasy! And by implication this would include the Anglo-Catholics in the Episcopal Church and in the newly formed province in North America. They are ALL apostates, REGARDLESS OF THEIR POSITION ON HOMOSEXUALITY.

To cater to Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or Anglo-Catholics, according to Luther's theology, is to commit apostasy because you are trusting in good works as a means of justifying yourself before God.

Justification by faith alone is the doctrine by which the church stands or falls!

Regarding Baptism, the Presbyterians do not deny that baptized infants are regenerate. This is meant to comfort the parents of infants who die in infancy! As you said, those who grow up to commit apostasy are NOT regenerate. Thus, baptism and regeneration are not inseparable!

Only where faith is conjoined with the sacrament is there any spiritual efficacy. Cranmer says as much in his commentary on the Lord's Supper and on Baptism.

Regarding Augustine, his earlier theology was not always consistent with his later views. However, the Reformers took Augustine's theology and purified it and perfected it.

If the Homily on Justification and Luther's comment on Galatians prove anything at all it is the fact that those who trust in their own merits are guilty of apostasy and are not Christians at all!

Charlie J. Ray said...

I was reading this a couple of years later. It suddenly occurred to me that I neglected to mention that ALL sins are mortal sins. Apart from faith it is impossible to please God.

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