July 3, 2010

  • Question 257 – Does Quanto Conficiamur Moerore deny Original Sin? 3

    DF: I don't need to delete Romans 1 & 2. And I did read your comments.  Who are we to judge whether God is fair or not?


    RS: We are not judging God. We are merely accepting God’s testimony that he is a fair and just God and does not lie, and we make our subsequent conclusions on that basis.


    DF: No where in Scripture does it say General Revelation is enough to save someone. It is enough to condemn someone further, because they are without excuse for suppressing the truth. I think of evolutionists, who stick to their dogma and really do suppress the truth that the universe was created and didn't just happen.


    RS: Read Romans 2:13-16:

    13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them. 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.


    Verse 13 says that the doers of the law will be justified (saved), and then Paul uses the Gentiles who obey the law (“do by nature what the law requires”) as examples of those who are doers of the law and will be justified because of their obedience. 


    DF: You cannot be saved without faith, and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the preaching of the Word, as Romans points out.


    RS: As with most Protestants, you take this scripture out of context. It is Romans 10:17. The context, beginning in verse 16, concerns the Jews who actually heard the Gospel but refused to obey it. In other words, the Gospel came to them by the word of Christ, verbally and directly, but they refused to listen. The verse is NOT teaching that someone must hear the Gospel in order to be saved. In fact, Paul directly answers and defeats your argument about general revelation, since in verse 18 he says that the Gospel was not only preached to the Jews directly by the word of Christ, but also, in Paul’s quote from Psalm 19:4 (“into all the earth went their voice, and to the ends of the world their words”), it was preached to them by the very creation of God as seen in the cosmos, not merely the actual preached word. According to Paul, both are sufficient to bring the message of God. One does so directly, the other indirectly.


    DF: Your tribal man is in the natural state of the flesh, and the flesh cannot please God. In fact, the natural man not only has no ability to come to God, he is at enmity with God and is, by nature, a child of wrath. Eph 2:1-5


    RS: Granted, but when God gives him grace to respond, as is apparently the case of the man in Romans 2:4-16, then the man can fight the natural tendencies of his flesh and begin to please God.


    DF: Yes, a few gentiles joined Israel and were saved, but the gentile nations were not chosen by God. They were left in their paganism.


    RS: Yes, but we are not talking about the nations at large but about individuals from those nations who fit the description of Romans 2:13-15. To claim that no individuals from those nations were saved without coming to Israel is not information the Scripture gives you.


    DF: God doesn't gave the same opportunity to all,


    RS: Not according to Scripture:

    1 Timothy 2:3-4: “This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    Romans 2:9-11:  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.


    DF: since some are in hell.


    RS: They are in hell because THEY refused God, not because God arbitrarily decided not to give them the same opportunity to be saved. Scripture NEVER teaches that people are in hell because God didn’t give them the same opportunity to be saved. If you know of one, be sure to let me know.


    DF: Faith is a gift. If all without exception were given that gift, then why do some accept and some do not? If the difference is in the individual, then the one that accepts would have something to boast about, which contradicts scripture--1 Cor 4:7.


    RS: No, because once again, you are taking Scriptures out of context and making illogical conclusions based on preconceived ideas. This is the perennial problem with most Protestant interpretations. Yes, faith is a gift, but that truth says nothing about how one acquires the gift. If he acquires it by a decision of his free will in cooperation with God’s moving grace (as opposed to your belief that God just gives it to him without the man’s cooperation), it is still a “gift” either way, because free will doesn’t mean that one is earning anything from God or that he can boast that God owes him something. Boasting involves the idea that one has God under contract and that God is obligated to give. But that is not what free will is. It means we respond to God’s grace, and if we respond positively, God still doesn’t owe us anything. Rather, he gives it to us by his intrinsic benevolence and good will. If we respond negatively and refuse the gift of faith, then, of course, God has no option but to send that individual to hell.


    DF: John 3:27: "John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven."


    RS: Certainly. But what is given from heaven can also be refused by someone on earth. THAT is why people go to hell. Not because God didn’t give him the same thing he gave someone else.


    DF: Or James 1:17--"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."


    RS: Certainly.


    DF: Phil 1:29--" For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,"


    RS: No argument from me.


    DF: You say the man can be saved if he does what God requires. And what might that be?


    RS: Read Romans 2:13-15. That is your answer.


    DF: How can that natural man, dead in trespasses and sin and at enmity with God, the one who is in the flesh and CANNOT please God, that man that is spiritually dead, how can that man do anything toward God?


    RS: He can do so after God gives him the grace to do so. The problem I see here, Don, is that you have imbibed the Calvinistic “total depravity” presupposition, and do not believe that God gives prompting grace to the man who is dead in trespasses and sins. But the Catholic Church teaches that God gives all man actual grace to respond to him, but prior to that actual grace he is absolutely dead in trespasses and sins and cannot respond. From that prompting grace, man decides with his free will whether he will respond positively or negatively, and his decision will determine his eternal destiny. This is covered in the Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapters 4-5.


    DF: 1 Cor 2:14--"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."


    RS: That’s right. The “natural man” must be prompted by the grace of God in order to respond.


    “RS: Has nothing to do with what we are talking about, since I never said the Amazon was not under condemnation for sin.”

    DF: It's not the Amazon, but the people who are under condemnation. I assume that's what you meant.


    RS: Whatever. The point remains: all men are under the curse of sin and death from Adam and need salvation from Christ in order to be saved. You were implying that I don’t believe that.


    DF: Romans 2:13-15--for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)"


    And the law saves no one, according to Paul in Galatians.


    RS: Again, you are taking things out of context, or, even worse, conflating texts that are talking about two different things. In Galatians, Paul is teaching that the law, in and of itself, cannot save anyone (Galatians 3:10-11). No argument from me or the Catholic Church. Canon 1 of Trent says the same: “If anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done either by his own natural powers, or through the teaching of the Law, and without divine grace through Christ Jesus: let him be anathema.” But Paul also teaches that works done under the grace of God are rewarded by grace, not law. This is precisely what he teaches in…


    Romans 2:6-8: “For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.”


     And the same in James 2:21-24:

    “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.”


    DF: A person that never heard the gospel would not know Christ or the gospel.


    RS: Granted, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be saved. You are still working under your unproven premise from Romans 10:17, the one you took out of context.


    DF: Regeneration is NOT by looking at nature.


    RS: Right, regeneration is from the Spirit of God who does the regeneration after man accepts God by faith when he sees his handiwork in the cosmos. That’s Paul’s argument in Romans 10:18.


    DF: We can speculate or wish, or hope God saves without means, but that isn't what the scriptures teach.


    RS: Right, the means is the Holy Spirit, the Person who goes where He wills without us necessarily knowing how he does so and when he does so (John 3:8: “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.”)


    DF: How does the lost man, by nature a child of wrath, know about the Atonement or even care about it? Those things are spiritually discerned and CANNOT be understood by the natural man.


    RS: By God’s prompting grace.


    DF: There is no scripture whatsoever that says regeneration can occur to someone who knows nothing about Christ, nothing about the gospel, and is at enmity with God.


    RS: So Paul’s is speaking about men in Romans 2:6-8 who obey and are rewarded with eternal life, and he believes they do so without being regenerated?? And he also speaks about the same man being “justified by works” in Romans 2:13, and says this is the same man who obeyed his conscience in doing God’s will in verses 14-15, but he gets this justification without being regenerated?? You need to read all of Scripture, Don, not just the passages that give you one side of the story without the other side. Scripture needs to be read in context, not proof-texts.