Thursday, June 21, 2007

Centuri0n Makes a Good Point

This post (link) provides an excellent warm-up. If you have time, I encourage you to read it. It won't take long.

After you've read it, consider whether your evangelism technique mentions only love and heaven, or whether it also mentions wrath and hell ... but more importantly if it mentions, persecutions, trials, and difficulties.

Our spiritual ancestors, many of them, were martyred for their faith. Our brothers, in some lands, are being martyred and imprisoned even today. John the Baptist was imprisoned and eventually beheaded for preaching that someone's lifestyle was ungodly.

Guess what! Today, those whose lifestyles are even more depraved than those of the Herod family are trying to label John the Baptist-style preaching "hate speech," and trying to push for criminal sanctions. I doubt beheading is coming any time soon, but fines and imprisonment is definite possibility.

There can be real cost in terms of standing up for the truth of God's word - if you forget to mention this in your discussion with unbelievers, aren't really giving them a short 20?

-Turretinfan

10 comments:

Kepha said...

Of course, you could just develop a quasi-universalism like Dr. Sippo! Even Judas has hope in his theology!

Turretinfan said...

Indeed(!)

Thanks for your comment, Kepha.

I hadn't thought of Sippo's position that way. I suppose, however, it is the natural out-growth of some of the Vatican II documents, particularly those related to "separated brethren" and non-Christian religions.

It seems as though there is a leaning in modern Roman Catholicism to assert a new and different role in salvation ... not that they are they exclusive way to heaven, but that they are the best or quickest way.

One elderly Roman Catholic lady told me almost two decades ago, "I think we're all going to the same place; we're just taking different roads to get there."

If that were the teaching of the RCC in Pascal's day, Pascal would NOT have been Roman Catholic.

-Turretinfan

Reginald de Piperno said...

Turretinfan,

The doctrine of the Church was in no way changed by Vatican II. With respect to the present question, see for instance CCC 1257: "...The Church does not know of any means other than baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude...God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments" (Emphasis in original).

Turretinfan said...

Reginald,

There are more than a few Roman Catholics who disagree with your evaluation of Vatican II. Perhaps those of us outside the RCC can see the tide changing more easily than those inside.

As to the creeping universalism issue, even the quotation you provided specifically leaves open other ways of salvation. The quotation suggests that to be baptized implies that the person is saved, but does not say anything about the unbaptized person.

-Turretinfan

Reginald de Piperno said...

In the context of what the Church has always taught it seems absurd to interpret CCC 1257 universalistically. In fact, in the context of what the CCC itself says, it seems ridiculous to do so: "The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, 'eternal fire'" (CCC 1035).

As to "other ways" of salvation: it seems to me that what the CCC says in 1257 is not all that different from what the WCF says in ch. X, paragraph III: "Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word" (emphasis added). God is not bound by the sacraments; God "worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth."

Peace be with you.

Turretinfan said...

Dear Reginald,

An enterprising future generation of universalists could accept what you quote from the CCC and state that it is hell and the fire that eternal, not the suffering of any individual.

The Westminster Confession of Faith does not teach that Baptism confers salvation, and consequently does not need to ask whether God is "bound by His sacraments."

The "incapable of being outwardly called" is a reference to those who have the minds of infants, although they may reach adult age.

The WCF has very little to do with the CCC, the former proceeding on the basis of the teachings of Scripture, and the latter on the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

-Turretinfan

Kepha said...

Reginald,

The teaching of the Magisterium is that God is not bound to the physical, ritual expression of the Sacraments, in this case the Sacrament of Baptism. For those who are saved outside of Christianity, the Magisterium teaches that there is an unconscious/ignorant "baptism of desire." Thus, in some way the non-Christian is saved by baptism. This is why I spoke of a "quasi-universalism."

Yes, the Magisterium still affirms the existence of Hell, but it also has made it awefully difficult for someone to go there. Just look at Dr. Art Sippo's suggestion.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Turretinfan,

Enterprising universalists will have to ignore the CCC (and the entire history of Catholic dogma) if they wish to persist in their error. Of course, ignoring the truth would be nothing new for them.

1033: "...To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice" (emphasis added).

1038: (quoting Mt. 25) "He will place the the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left...And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

I am aware of the fact that the WCF does not endorse baptismal regeneration, but that is not relevant to my point. My point in comparing the WCF to the CCC was simply that in certain cases God uses extraordinary means to accomplish his purposes of redemption. The WCF allows for some people who are unable to place faith in Christ to be saved nevertheless; the CCC allows for the possibility that God might save some who have never been baptized. From the Catholic perspective, God is not bound by the sacraments. Nevertheless - even granting that - the Church knows nothing about any such means that God might use, and consequently makes no promises about such a thing: "The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude" (1257 again): One would be ill-advised to place his confidence for eternity in something about which God has made no promises.

Peace be with you.

Turretinfan said...

Reginald,

Yes, there is more than one section that would have to be circumnavigated.

I don't think it would be impossible, but I think it would beyond my mission to help some future Originist find the way around, in each instance.

-Turretinfan

Kepha said...

Reginald,

Yes, it is true the Magisterium still believes in Mortal Sin, however, as you well know, there are certain qualifications that must be met before one can committ mortal sin. It is this ambiguity that allows Dr. Art Sippo to argue for the possibility that Judas was saved.

So, to recap, the Magisterium still believes that (trinitarian) baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, but she also teaches that an unconscious/ignorant "desire of baptism" is sufficient for salvation. Also, the Magisterium still believes in Mortal Sin and Hell, but she teaches that there are certain qualifications that must be met before these become realities.