Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Can We Say "God Bless You" To Roman Catholics?

The subject question is one that is posed by Mr. William Albrecht's latest video (link). The question is an interesting one. On the one hand, we certainly do wish and pray and act for the good of Roman Catholics. A substantial number of the posts on this blog of late have been directed toward Roman Catholics and Roman Catholicism with the aim of doing them good, and they are accompanied by prayers to the same end. Let there be no doubt about this.

Let there be no doubt, we are addressing the claims of Roman Catholicism primarily for the good of those who are in that religion or tempted to become a part of that religion. It is not for our benefit, and it is certainly not out of any hostility for the people who make up that religion.

And that is not just true of Roman Catholicism, but of Atheism, Islam, Mormonism, and all men of whatever creed or anti-creed they may have, with whom we engage. We do not challenge the claims of others out of any negative animus but out of love for them and concern for their souls.

On the other hand, we do not want to give them the impression that God is favorably inclined to them while they remain opposed to the gospel. Thus, while we proclaim the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ alone, we do not suggest that God presently is favorably inclined on those who oppose the gospel: He is not.

Recall the words of the prophet:

Jeremiah 6:14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

This is why we do not normally say "God bless you" to an enemy of the faith, although we do wish God to bless them with the grace of regeneration and the gift of faith, because the expression is typically viewed as suggesting that we view them as already in God's favor where they are.

But yes, I do wish for God's blessing on you, Mr. William Albrecht, and I will (as you asked) pray for you: not that you will continue on in opposition to the gospel that Paul preached, but that you will be overwhelmed by the Scriptures and brought to faith in Christ alone for salvation.

-TurretinFan

7 comments:

Strong Tower said...

"On the other hand, we do not want to give them the impression that God is favorably inclined to them while they remain opposed to the gospel."

To bring it into the NT focus: "And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town."

Not only does Jesus tell them not to leave a blessing if the message is rejected, he commands that a curse be left. The reality is that the curse has already been pronounced by God, John 3:18, but proclaimers are to remind the people of it just as He did.

natamllc said...

Strong Tower,

You make a good point that seems to be lost in the social environment of the Lost and Found in the Christian world.

No one wants to be critical or negative with another, casually or otherwise.

In our country, the USA, there is a problem brewing that if it is allowed to go unchecked, it will boil the Gospel to death, not that that hasn't already been tried and failed, but the experience is what is harsh and the treatment by a dry stick can be as deadly as a green one! grrrrr.

The condemnation was not without a purpose. That's what seems to not be conveyed in the social interaction between faiths and the One True Faith, once delivered to the Saints.

The condemnation is very real. We were born into the stress and difficulty of it, even when born to a Godly Household with well bred, decent, righteous parents and sibliings to boot!

The curse of the Law exists. The whole of creation, even the serpent creature waits for the lifting of the curse. Now there will never be a lifting of the curse from the beast, the False Prophet, Satan, Death, Hades and those whose names are not found written in the book of Life.

That is why, if one wants to practice piety in this way and say to one, who just might be of the Calling and Election, "God Bless You", we can, or better yet, as a better door opener, say: "In God We Trust", [what does this mean?], we can. It is those that have been emboldened to preach and teach, who should proclaim, without hesitation, the Gospel of the Kingdom starting with the "seed" of the Woman, Eve's line, and giving to the listener, at a minimum, a bird's eye passover of the events that led up to His Death, Burial and Resurrection.

It has been my experience, that those who will listen and receive, will. Why? Because they too are of the Called and Chosen, the Elect. Then there are those, who equally are the Called and Chosen, the Elect, who will not on the face of it, "receive", but, and make no mistakes about it, the Gospel bears its own Fruit no matter who is proclaiming it or planting the seed of it, they are receiving the Words of the Gospel of their Life, too. You might just be the planter or one who, not knowingly, the water that causes the seeds to come alive!

Let me remind you that "birds" of the air came and "ate" the seeds sown by the sower. Even though it seems a bit robust to describe the power of the Gospel proclamation in this sort of way, it isn't the proclaimer, or the "bird" eating the seeds sown and then "sowing" them by droppings, no, rather, it is God who causes the seeds to germinate every time and causes the seeds to grow up into a Faithful Fruit of Life and Godliness, some 30, some 60 and some 100 fold!

It is my intent to listen to the Holy Ghost whenever I am engaged with those "I perceive" are not of the Kingdom, "yet" or "ever", to know what to say in the way of a social greeting. He knows the thoughts of man and their heart. I do not. I know the thoughts of the Holy Ghost and His Heart, especially when He is speaking to me. If it should be that He is speaking to me in the social interaction with another, then I am quite content that things will end up with His Peace as a result of that interaction. It may not end up in "peace" naturally, but maybe, "hostility" instead. I have experienced that too. That happens. We need not worry when that happens as it seems to me, from my experiences over time, that the ones most hostile to the Proclamation of the Gospel as a greeting place to begin the interaction are the ones closest to the Kingdom. They may not know it yet, that is, that they are counted among the Elect. But generally, once the dust has settled and the Prince of Peace and the Still Small Voice gets done with them, because they "heard" the Word and it conveyed the "Faith", miraculuously "their eye", too, is opened and they begin to "see" and "hear" and are led into the Liberty of the Saints of God on earth as in Heaven itself!

"Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand"!

That is rare, to be sure. Mostly, it will come out rather quickly "where a person is" after a little Gospel Talk under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, if there are pre-existing "roots" present in the hearer.

I would not just "willy nilly" "bless" anyone with the words: "God Bless You".

I would look for an opening though where I can tell them about the "Blessings" of the Lord and why it is good to be "Blessed" of God, as in "Christ in you, the Hope of Glory"! Blessed are the feet of them who bring Good News!

Yes, the condemnation and curse of the Law are predisposed upon us already in this life. God does not "change" my flesh to be as Righteous as Christ's. No, no He doesn't. He leaves my flesh just as sinful as the day I born, and born again and accepted Christ and was then Baptised.

I believe in infant baptism, which is a bit of a digression. But, it carries the point, that just because one is baptised as an infant, this does not mean, they have "an advantage" over the one who was not, who was later on in life baptised into the Holy Christian Church. No, the playing field is level for all. We will all have to learn to "die" daily to our self life and walk in the "Newness" of Life which is only found in Jesus Christ's Present Glory and Life!

He is risen. He is alive. We should proclaim it as often as we have the opportunity and indeed I count it a service and more a privilege to so serve My Lord and Savior in doing so, don't you?

Strong Tower said...

Yes.

When Jesus said this to his disciples I don't think that he had in mind a, "Well then, since you reject the blessing, damn you!" Rather that the full body of the Gospel is both the message of Law and Gospel. Or as some have said: "If we are going to call people to be saved we must tell them from what."

I remember having mistakenly told a friend to real Proverbs for comfort when what I had meant to say was Psalms. She later told me that all she experienced from her reading was condemnation. A few years later I saw her again having converted and attending church.

There is something that can be taken away from the Supper. Judas ate and drank of the blessed things and ate and drank condemnation to himself. The warning Paul brings out goes to this point. We should engender the meditation of just what that bread and cup offered means lest we also find ourselves being condemned in what we do.

Good words nat.

Alexander Greco said...

Hey Turretinfan, you know I only come on here sporadically (too busy with wife, kids and job), so I’m just wondering if you’ll provide a response to my last post. If not, you might still have my email and you can just tell me not to bother…or you could leave me in suspense, which is actually kind of exciting but I’m not sure how long that will last.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Greco:

You don't post on your own blog, and I haven't seen anything from you on Anethema Sit, yet.

So, you must be referring to some comment that you left on my blog. I see that there may be something that you left on the issue of the morality of interest back in December. Is that what you are referring to? I don't think I've left any of your new comments unanswered in the last few months.

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

To be honest, now I don't remember the exact questions, but it was related to your comment here:
"we do not suggest that God presently is favorably inclined on those who oppose the gospel."

Do you believe that God would hear the prayers of those who oppose the gospel?

Is this a black and white issue as far as you are concerned; meaning that one is either opposed to the gospel or not?

Turretinfan said...

God is a merciful God, abounding in compassion. Those, however, who do oppose the gospel should have no reason to expect that their prayers will be heard (though, He may choose to show mercy as he did to Ninevah, for example).

The issue itself is black and white: you are either a disciple of Christ or you are none of his. Nevertheless, it is sometimes hard for us to discern men's hearts - so while it is objectively a black and white issue it is sometimes subjectively very grey.

-TurretinFan