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Good Will Equals Salvation? (Did the pope say non christians could be saved - part 1)
Zenit News Agency ^ | January 15, 2006 | Ilaria Morali

Posted on 01/16/2006 6:00:21 AM PST by NYer

Theologian Ilaria Morali Responds

ROME, JAN. 15, 2006 (ZENIT.org).- If it is enough to seek peace with good will to be saved, of what use is Christianity?

This is the question posed after Benedict XVI's address during the Nov. 30 general audience, in which he spoke about the possibility of salvation for non-Christians.

In Part 1 of this interview with ZENIT, theologian Ilaria Morali, a professor of theology at the Gregorian University, and a specialist on the topic of grace, explains the Pope's words, and the Church's magisterium on the subject.

Q: The Pope said in that general audience that the salvation of non-Christians is a fact: "There are people who are committed to peace and the good of the community, despite the fact that they do not share the biblical faith, that they do not know the hope of the eternal city to which we aspire. They have a spark of desire for the unknown, for the greatest, for the transcendent, for an authentic redemption." How is this possible?

Morali: According to what I have been able to read in the press or hear on the radio, the Holy Father's words have caused great surprise. It would seem that he said something absolutely new and revolutionary.

Some believe that with these words the Church has admitted at last that it isn't necessary to be a Christian to do good and to obtain salvation; that what matters is to be men of peace regardless of the faith one professes. It is, of course, a very hasty and superficial reading of the Holy Father's words.

To understand this address we must first emphasize three aspects.

The Holy Father made this affirmation in the context of St. Augustine's commentary for this Psalm: For St. Augustine, as for Christians of the first centuries, Babylon was the symbol par excellence of the city of evil, of idolatry. It is the opposite of Jerusalem, which, on the contrary, represents the place of God, the place where Christ's redemption was accomplished.

In Christian tradition the antithesis Babylon-Jerusalem has very many meanings. Essentially, the Pope presents two of them, which are intertwined. According to the earlier meaning, Babylon is the present in which we are prisoners, while Jerusalem is the heavenly goal.

The second meaning is of a different sort: Babylon as the city or area where people live who do not profess the biblical faith. On this level is encased what the Pope sees in St. Augustine as a "surprising and very timely note," the fact that the saint recognized the possibility that also in such a city, where faith in the true God is not cultivated, there can be people who promote peace and goodness.

A second aspect that must be pointed out of the Pope's words is the point of departure, taken from St. Augustine's words. The Pontiff stresses three specific characteristics: In the first place, that the inhabitants of Babylon "have a spark of desire for the unknown," desire for eternity; in the second place, that they harbor "a kind of faith, of hope"; and in the third place that "they have faith in an unknown reality, they do not know Christ or God."

A third and last point refers to these people's fate. The Pope affirms with St. Augustine that "God will not allow them to perish with Babylon, being predestined to be citizens of Jerusalem." But with a very specific condition: "That they be dedicated with a pure conscience to these tasks."

The Pope, as the words of St. Augustine themselves demonstrate, try to remind us of a truth that belongs from the beginning of Christian history to our faith and that profoundly characterizes the Christian conception of salvation.

This truth contains two fundamental principles: The first is that God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth, as St. Paul says in the Second Letter to Timothy. To know, in this sense, means to adhere, to welcome the Lord in one's life.

The second: Historically, the Gospel has not been able to conquer all hearts, whether because it has not arrived materially in all places on earth, or because, though it has arrived, not all have accepted it.

Q: And, in this context, what is the Christian doctrine of salvation?

Morali: The Christian doctrine of salvation is very clear. To explain it, I would refer to two texts of the magisterium: The first is an address of Pius IX on the occasion of the consistory that took place on December 8, 1854, on the occasion of the solemn proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The Pope said that those who do not know the true religion, when their ignorance is invincible, are not culpable before the eyes of God.

Years later he wanted to take up this teaching again clarifying the meaning of invincible ignorance in the encyclical letter "Quanto Conficiamur Moerore" of 1863. "It is known," he wrote, "that those who observe with zeal the natural law and its precepts engraved by God in the hearts of all men, can attain eternal life if they are willing to obey God and lead a good life."

Pius IX proposed again a conviction consolidated for centuries in Christian theology: There are men and women who, for various reasons, whether because of cultural conditionings, or because of an experience or a negative contact with the Christian faith, are unable to consent to the faith.

Although it might seem that these people consciously reject Christ, one cannot make an unquestionable judgment on this rejection.

Invincible ignorance indicates precisely a condition of lack of knowledge in regard to Christ, the Church, the faith, a lack of knowledge that, for the time being, cannot be overcome with an act of will.

The person is blocked, as though unable to express a "yes" to faith.

As we see every day among our acquaintances, the reasons why many people say no to Christ are many: disappointment, betrayal, poor catechesis, cultural and social conditioning.

Pius IX himself admitted the difficulty of delimiting the cases of invincible ignorance, stating: "Who will arrogate to himself the power to determine the limits of that ignorance according to the character and variety of peoples, of regions, of spirits and of so many other elements?"

Pius IX taught us therefore a great prudence and great respect for those who do not have the gift of faith in Christ.

We are not able to understand altogether the reasons for a rejection of faith, nor can we know with certainty that someone who seems to have no faith, in fact has a very imperfect form of faith.

Q: Given the fact that a Christian is baptized, can he think he is already saved?

Morali: Of course not. Baptism is not an automatic guarantee of salvation. If it were so, the effort to lead a Christian life would be futile. Every Christian must make the effort to merit this salvation with a life of fidelity to God, of charity towards his brothers, of good works. However, no one can be certain of his own salvation, because only God has the power to grant it.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; Ecumenism; Ministry/Outreach; Prayer; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; homily; nonchristian; pope; salvation
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1 posted on 01/16/2006 6:00:25 AM PST by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...

Part 2 will be posted this evening.


2 posted on 01/16/2006 6:01:19 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: NYer
Q: And, in this context, what is the Christian doctrine of salvation?

Morali: The Christian doctrine of salvation is very clear. To explain it, I would refer to two texts of the magisterium: The first is an address of Pius IX on the occasion of the consistory that took place on December 8, 1854, on the occasion of the solemn proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The Pope said that those who do not know the true religion, when their ignorance is invincible, are not culpable before the eyes of God.

Why not just go straight to the WORD? John 3:16 would be a good place to start! Why quote something a Pope said that has absolutely NOTHING to do with salvation?

This is why I ask these questions, because when something in scripture is clear as a bell, you have all this hierarchy making statements that make absolutely no sense, or directly contradict scripture...

3 posted on 01/16/2006 6:24:06 AM PST by sirchtruth (Words Mean Things...)
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To: sirchtruth
This is why I ask these questions, because when something in scripture is clear as a bell, you have all this hierarchy making statements that make absolutely no sense, or directly contradict scripture...

Just cause you don't understand it, doesn't mean it makes "absolutely no sense."

SD

4 posted on 01/16/2006 6:31:08 AM PST by SoothingDave
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To: NYer

O, ne Zot! Not this again!


5 posted on 01/16/2006 6:31:36 AM PST by Tax-chick (D-minus-8.)
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To: SoothingDave
Just cause you don't understand it, doesn't mean it makes "absolutely no sense."

Look, I'm not bashing Catholismm here, I'm trying to grasp why Catholics look at scripture the way they do (with all this extraneous focus) and why they have this need to have others tell them what to think of scripture.

Does Good will equal salvation?

6 posted on 01/16/2006 6:43:39 AM PST by sirchtruth (Words Mean Things...)
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To: NYer

TO understand this, try this exercise. Presuppose that the message is this:

Heaven is not a reward for living a perfect life, but rather hell is the punishment for not working for God.

Therefore, if someone could NOT work for God (meaning it was impossible for them to work for God), they should not be punished with Hell.

Now, re-read the article, and see if everything pronounced makes sense. If so, it is probably what they were trying to say.

On the other hand, the bible indicates clearly what it takes to be "saved", and it has nothing to do with working for God, or having the ability to do so or not.

If one starts with the supposition that all humans are doomed to hell because of original sin, then hell is not punishment for not believing God, but rather for being born.

And Heaven is not the default state of man, but rather the place impossible to attain without devine intervention. And that intervention is not a right of man, but rather a gift of God.

And a gift is not earned, nor deserved, nor something you are entitled to. And if you never hear of the gift, there is no "special circumstance" that entitles you to the gift.

This does not mean that a person who it seems has an impossible task learning of God cannot be saved -- God could certainly provide a saving faith to any creature on the face of the earth -- he is after all all-powerful. But that would still be an act of God providing the gift, not an entitlement.

Suppose it was the case that everybody who doesn't have a chance for saving faith was automatically saved. Suppose also that salvation is an eternity in heaven, vs an eternity in hell, and that hell is much worse, and heaven much better, than anything that happens in this life.

Why, in that instance, wouldn't it be the act of greatest love to kill every newborn to ensure it's eternity, at the cost of a few years living this life? Of course, the perpetrator would go to hell, but would that be a small price to pay for the salvation of the world?

Further, wouldn't it be the best act of compassion to NOT send missionaries to corners of the world that have not heard of God, nor can they hear of God, if their salvation is assured by their "impossible task" of knowing God? Isn't our outreach to make it "possible" for them to know God an eternal death wish for many of them, if they were all destined for heaven before our arrival?


7 posted on 01/16/2006 6:53:09 AM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: sirchtruth
I'm trying to grasp why Catholics look at scripture the way they do

Good luck with that.

8 posted on 01/16/2006 6:57:16 AM PST by newgeezer (fundamentalist, regarding the Constitution AND the Holy Bible. Words mean things!)
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To: sirchtruth; Convert from ECUSA
Why not just go straight to the WORD? John 3:16 would be a good place to start!

What about the Jew, for example, with no knowledge of the NT, who has steadfastly followed the teachings of the Bible and been faithful to God! Is he excluded from Heaven?

Why quote something a Pope said that has absolutely NOTHING to do with salvation?

Over the span of 2000 years, there have been great theologians who have studied Scripture. There have been Popes and Patriarchs who have convened Church Councils to discuss the truths of Scripture and establish consensus as to interpretation. Would you summarily dismiss them?

9 posted on 01/16/2006 7:10:04 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: sirchtruth
Does Good will equal salvation?

Yes, since Good Will is from God and is a function of grace. All men of Good Will will come to know the truth and will be saved. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men of good will." (St. Luke 2)

A different matter entirely is the salvific quality of being invincibly ignorant. Some apparently still labor under the misapprehension that ignorance = grace, and that ignorance of the divine religion excuses immoral personal behavior, thinking apparently the dumber and less knowledgable you are of the Lord, the closer you become to Him. "This is eternal life, to know thee, Father, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (St. John 17.3).

10 posted on 01/16/2006 7:10:07 AM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: sirchtruth
Look, I'm not bashing Catholismm here, I'm trying to grasp why Catholics look at scripture the way they do (with all this extraneous focus) and why they have this need to have others tell them what to think of scripture.

Does Good will equal salvation?

That's two HUGE questions, isn't it?

As to the first, I would say that the incredible multitude of denominations which claim to view the Bible as the word of God suggests that what is clear and indisputable to person A is complicated and questionable to person B, including John 3:16

Just as an exercise, "... all who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" does not in itself necessarily imply that ONLY those who believe in Him can have everlasting life.

As to the second: I guess I don't see anywhere in the article cited anyone saying that Good Will equals salvation. Theology requires precise expression and careful, attentive reading and listening.

Here's a thought: Jesus says, "I have other sheep that ye know not of," (displaying a regrettable use of dangling prepositions, tsk, tsk). Now I know that a lot of Christians are only too eager to explain that He meant the Gentiles, and that therefore they DO in fact know of the sheep of whom Jesus says "ye know not of." Personally, I'm content to say that Jesus is right and I don't know of all His sheep.

11 posted on 01/16/2006 7:18:54 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Allahu Fubar! (with apologies to Sheik Yerbouty))
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To: Mad Dawg
Personally, I'm content to say that Jesus is right and I don't know of all His sheep.

Raucous round of applause!

12 posted on 01/16/2006 7:27:01 AM PST by Tax-chick (D-minus-8.)
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To: NYer
If it is enough to seek peace with good will to be saved, of what use is Christianity?

If self-centered and psychopathic people almost entirely ignorant of human anatomy or psychology can beget, conceive, and bring children to birth, of what possible use is falling in Love?

13 posted on 01/16/2006 7:32:37 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Allahu Fubar! (with apologies to Sheik Yerbouty))
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To: NYer

I cannot see but that what +BXVI said is Orthodox theology as taught by the Fathers. Theosis is becoming Christlike in our very being, by dying to the self and focusing completely on God. Since God is wholly transcendant we can never in this life fully understand God. In that regard we have no more faculty of understanding than a pagan. What the Church gives us is a way of life which tends to focus the eye of the soul on God and away from ourselves. As that focus becomes clearer, grace, the uncreated energy of God, in turn further transforms us. But what is to say that, if the goal for, indeed the created purpose of, all humanity is to become Christlike, a pagan cannot, by grace, fulfill that purpose? Why would one presume to limit whither the Spirit goes? What does one say about a pagan born in a non Christian land who lives his life in such a manner as to become Christlike without even knowing it? The Fathers wrote of the "sporoi" the seeds of the Faith which they perceived in pagan beliefs.("Some say that we can do nothing good until we actively receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. This is not true." +Mark the Ascetic) These would seem to be the common heritage of created persons. If these exist, they exist for a purpose and I suspect that purpose is for the Holy Spirit to act upon them even if the seedbed isn't Christian or Jewish.How that happens, or even if it happens, I have no idea and I certainly don't ascribe to any sort of Universalism.

"Every Christian must make the effort to merit this salvation with a life of fidelity to God, of charity towards his brothers, of good works."

I think I know what he means, but I also think this is a very unfortunate choice of words. "Merit" doesn't fit real well with theosis. How does one "merit" theosis?


14 posted on 01/16/2006 8:40:00 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: sirchtruth
Look, I'm not bashing Catholismm here,

Sure.

I'm trying to grasp why Catholics look at scripture the way they do (with all this extraneous focus) and why they have this need to have others tell them what to think of scripture.

We simply don't believe one needs to wipe the slate clean with the birth of each new believer. We are allowed, nay, commanded, to share our understanding and wisdom.

Every time a scientist wishes to solve a problem, he does not begin with counting theory and then evolve arithmetic from the concept of numbers. He then doesn't go on to discover anew Calculus and Trigonometry and the other higher branches of knowledge.

Instead, he takes what has been discovered by those before him and works upon that foundation. Einstein called it "standing on the shoulders of giants."

I am unsure why anyone would want to reject summarily the thoughts and insights of the multiple generations of believers who came before us. I guess it's the difference between believing literally millions of minds over millennia can come to know what is true versus the hubris of believing one is sufficient in oneself to determine what is true.

SD

15 posted on 01/16/2006 8:47:55 AM PST by SoothingDave
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To: NYer; Hermann the Cherusker
A third and last point refers to these people's fate. The Pope affirms with St. Augustine that "God will not allow them to perish with Babylon, being predestined to be citizens of Jerusalem." But with a very specific condition: "That they be dedicated with a pure conscience to these tasks."

The Pope, as the words of St. Augustine themselves demonstrate, try to remind us of a truth that belongs from the beginning of Christian history to our faith and that profoundly characterizes the Christian conception of salvation.

This truth contains two fundamental principles: The first is that God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth, as St. Paul says in the Second Letter to Timothy. To know, in this sense, means to adhere, to welcome the Lord in one's life.

The second: Historically, the Gospel has not been able to conquer all hearts, whether because it has not arrived materially in all places on earth, or because, though it has arrived, not all have accepted it.

Yikes. It's really rather sad that a Professor of Theology at the Gregorian could be so unaware of what Augustine actually believed and taught. St. Augustine did not believe that God desires all men to be saved: "Accordingly, when we hear and read in Scripture that He 'will have all men to be saved,' although we know well that all men are not saved, we are not on that account to restrict the omnipotence of God, but are rather to understand the Scripture, 'Who will have all men to be saved,' as meaning that no man is saved unless God wills his salvation: not that there is no man whose salvation He does not will, but that no man is saved apart from His will; and that, therefore, we should pray Him to will our salvation, because if He will it, it must necessarily be accomplished." (Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Charity, no. 103) Of course he was wrong on this, since Scripture really is quite clear ... As regards ignorance, Augustine knew well that it cannot save. This interpretation of the Pope's words is abusive. "God will not allow them to perish with Babylon, being predestined to be citizens of Jerusalem." The Pope says these men are predestined to be citizens of Jerusalem, but Morali seems to think that they remain citizens of Babylon and are saved in that state...

Therefore the nature of the human race, generated from the flesh of the one transgressor, if it is self-sufficient for fulfilling the law and for perfecting righteousness, ought to be sure of its reward, that is, of everlasting life, even if in any nation or at any former time faith in the blood of Christ was unknown to it. For God is not so unjust as to defraud righteous persons of the reward of righteousness, because there has not been announced to them the mystery of Christ's divinity and humanity, which was manifested in the flesh. For how could they believe what they had not heard of; or how could they hear without a preacher? ' For "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." But I say (adds he): Have they not heard? "Yea, verily; their sound went out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world."

Before, however, all this had been accomplished, before the actual preaching of the gospel reaches the ends of all the earth--because there are some remote nations still (although it is said they are very few) to whom the preached gospel has not found its way,--what must human nature do, or what has it done--for it had either not heard that all this was to take place, or has not yet learnt that it was accomplished--but believe in God who made heaven and earth, by whom also it perceived by nature that it had been itself created, and lead a right life, and thus accomplish His will, uninstructed with any faith in the death and resurrection of Christ?

Well, if this could have been done, or can still be done, then for my part I have to say what the apostle said in regard to the law: "Then Christ died in vain." For if he said this about the law, which only the nation of the Jews received, how much more justly may it be said of the law of nature, which the whole human race has received, "If righteousness come by nature, then Christ died in vain." If, however, Christ did not die in vain, then human nature cannot by any means be justified and redeemed from God's most righteous wrath--in a word, from punishment--except by faith and the sacrament of the blood of Christ. (St. Augustine of Hippo, Treatise on Nature and Grace, Against the Pelagians, no. 2)


16 posted on 01/16/2006 8:47:56 AM PST by gbcdoj (Let us ask the Lord with tears, that according to his will so he would shew his mercy to us Jud 8:17)
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: Kolokotronis; NYer; bornacatholic; Cronos; jo kus; annalex
I cannot see but that what +BXVI said is Orthodox theology as taught by the Fathers

Kolo, you beat me to it! Good job! Hey, another piece of that wall between the Orthodox and Rome just came tumbling down. To which I say: Your Holiness, tear down that wall!

19 posted on 01/16/2006 10:36:56 AM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

>> To which I say: Your Holiness, tear down that wall!<<

From your fingers to God's ears!


20 posted on 01/16/2006 11:28:45 AM PST by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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To: sirchtruth

Look, I'm not bashing Catholismm here, I'm trying to grasp why Catholics look at scripture the way they do (with all this extraneous focus) and why they have this need to have others tell them what to think of scripture.>>>

Because we take seriously that Christ didn't freeze His thought in time but spread it through eternity via His chosen disciples.

Even the New Testament was 300 + year in the making, so "solo scriptura" is nonsense on its face.


21 posted on 01/16/2006 11:33:49 AM PST by Appalled but Not Surprised
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To: sirchtruth
###"because when something in scripture is clear as a bell"###

The transubstation of our Lord and the Blessed Mother are the two areas that most separate Catholics from other Bible believing religions. Then why is it that many Bible believing people never interpret the following as "clear as a bell"?

The Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:53–56).”

http://www.catholic.com/library/Christ_in_the_Eucharist.asp

The following from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Mary called Blessed to all:

"And it came to pass that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb." It was at this moment that God fulfilled the promise made by the angel to Zachary (Luke 1:15), "and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb"; in other words, the infant in Elizabeth's womb was cleansed from the stain of original sin. The fullness of the Holy Ghost in the infant overflowed, as it were, into the soul of his mother: "and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost" (Luke 1:41). Thus both child and mother were sanctified by the presence of Mary and the Word Incarnate [53]; filled as she was with the Holy Ghost, Elizabeth "cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord" (Luke 1:42-45).”

There numerous verses in Old and New Testaments pertaining to Mary.
22 posted on 01/16/2006 11:35:45 AM PST by franky (Pray for the souls of the faithful departed.)
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To: gbcdoj
"....not that there is no man whose salvation He does not will, but that no man is saved apart from His will."

A very nice quote from Augustine, thank you, gbcdoj.
23 posted on 01/16/2006 11:43:03 AM PST by InterestedQuestioner (Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.)
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To: sirchtruth

It's truly amazing to me that the first post of this thread is from Nyer and attached to the Original article, the second is her ping list and a post about the doctrine being wrong is the third.



Well, at least you had the decency to put it as a question.


24 posted on 01/16/2006 12:00:10 PM PST by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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To: kosta50; Kolokotronis; netmilsmom; bornacatholic; Cronos; jo kus; annalex
Hey, another piece of that wall between the Orthodox and Rome just came tumbling down. To which I say: Your Holiness, tear down that wall!

He "gets it"!

25 posted on 01/16/2006 1:58:09 PM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: sirchtruth

>> Why quote something a Pope said that has absolutely NOTHING to do with salvation? <<

Because many Catholics -- the intended audience of this writing -- may believe that the Pope is asserting some novel *interpretation* of scripture. The author is making clear that this interpretation is not new with Pope Benedict XVI.

The intent of this article is not convince anyone certainty of the Pope's statement, but to defuse an ad-hominem counterargument:

Catholics have witnessed Protestants cite opposing scripture passages on just about every issue you can imagine. If they can be made to believe that the Pope is stating a doctrine which contradicts past church teachings, it may be very easy to make a successful ad-hominem attack against the teaching: the devil also quotes scripture.


26 posted on 01/16/2006 2:24:25 PM PST by dangus
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To: sirchtruth
why Catholics look at scripture the way they do

Christ gave us the entirety of the Holy Tradition and instructed His Church to keep it in perpetuity. The Church obeyed Him and produced the Holy Scripture, the Holy Liturgy, and works - verbal and iconographic -- of the Fathers. Our teacher is Christ Whose whole Person is the Word. It is not the scripture alone and in isolation of the entire written and unwritten Tradition, but that Tradition as a whole, which is sustained by the Church.

Sola Scriptura, -- the conceit that a certain part of the written tradition is sufficient and can be understood alone -- is a recent innovation that signaled a separation of a large number of people from the mystical body of Christ. Lost sheep without a shepherd, they cut themselves off the living Church, and gradually lost the understanding of the subset of the Canon that they once perhaps had. We do not want to repeat their plight.

27 posted on 01/16/2006 2:39:55 PM PST by annalex
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To: sirchtruth

"Does Good will equal salvation?"

Well, let's look at that question carefully. Let's presume you are talking about truly good will, not self-deceiving rationalization. Could truly good will come from the devil? Is not God the author of all good things?

Next question: Is it possible to have a good will apart from Christ? No.

But is it possible to have a good will without knowing the name of Christ? Well, there's Moses and Abel and the prophets...

OK, could a gentile have a good will without knowing the name of Christ? Well, there's the three wise men, Naomi, Cyrus of Persia, and in the opinion of the Church fathers, even such people as Plato, "the prophet to the Greeks."

OK, could a gentile born after Christ have a good will without knowing the name of Christ? Well, now we have a problem with sola scriptura, since there are no people in the bible who lived after Christ who were not known of by the Christians who wrote the bible. But if we know that Moses was redeemed without knowing the name of Christ, on what basis can we assert that a just person who sought righteousness, but was born in Indonesia in AD 35 could not be redeemed without knowing the name of Christ?

The reason the question is a prickly one is because the natural follow-up question: If people can be redeemed without knowing the name of Christ, why should we teach people about Christ?

Well, for starters:

1. Jesus told us to.

2. Christians, a knowledge of Christ, and most significantly, the grace given through the sacraments, are means of avoiding sin. A person may discern God's will through nature (Romans 1), but such graces as the Church confers are means to discern that will clearer, combat temptation, and resist the confusion and lies of Satan.

3. Jesus is a healer of souls. Does compassion not compel us to heal the sick?

4. The church is the means through which Jesus acts that the souls who go to Hades without knowing Him will be raised up to Heaven. "Apon this Rock I shall build my Church, and the Gates of Hades shall not withstand it." Bringing people to Jesus strengthens the Church.

5. Luther chopped this out of the bible, so Protestants don't like to hear this, but God actually likes us to participate in atonement for sin (2 Maccabees). Such a participation makes us understand better God's love for us. That is why (even in the censored, Protestant bibles) Jesus commands those who would follow him to take up their crosses. If atonement has an effect, is the world not better if there is less to atone for?

6. By spreading the word, reducing the sins that must be atoned for, and bringing an opportunity to respond to God's love to all people, we allow Jesus to act through us to establish the Kingdom of Heaven.


28 posted on 01/16/2006 2:52:20 PM PST by dangus
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To: dangus

>> 6 <<

And yes, it is Jesus who is the author of our will to allow his work... I do not use the phrasing "we allow Jesus" to suggest that our action is more important than Jesus', but because the listing of our actions requires grammatically to make "we" the subject of the sentence.


29 posted on 01/16/2006 2:55:58 PM PST by dangus
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To: NYer
Morali: ..."Every Christian must make the effort to merit this salvation with a life of fidelity to God, of charity towards his brothers, of good works. However, no one can be certain of his own salvation, because only God has the power to grant it."

The above is a blasphemous statement. God's justice isn't for sale by performing works of penance, or any meritorious thought we might have. The ONLY method one may obtain salvation is as a gift of grace from God. When we have a purely NON-MERITORIOUS faith in our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, then our faith is identical to that of Christ. When we believe in God through Christ, God's perfect justice is free to give us by grace, salvation from condemnation. Salvation doesn't depend upon our morality. it is dependednt upon God, and our remaining in fellowship with Him by adjusting to His justice by putting o the mind of Christ.

God is perfectly holy. His holiness is comprised of perfect righteousness and perfect justice. Whereever he encounters unrighteousness, His perfect righteousness demands perfect justice.

Whenever we think we are performing good in order to receive favor, we fail to put on the mind of Christ. Gospel and our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus have provided a method by which we may understand, namely through faith in God, which is non-meritorious and is frequently manifest in our works.

30 posted on 01/16/2006 3:10:06 PM PST by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: sirchtruth
sirchtruth:Why not just go straight to the WORD?

You bring up a great point - why does Morali not go directly to the bible? Reading the article over again, the line right before the question you begin post 3 with Q: And, in this context, what is the Christian doctrine of salvation? - holds the straight answer. That line clarifies that the question asked about those who have not responded to the Gospel directly. The article sets up the context for the question thus:

"Historically, the Gospel has not been able to conquer all hearts, whether because it has not arrived materially in all places on earth, or because, though it has arrived, not all have accepted it."

The question is setup by stating that "not all have accepted it (the WORD)." That is exactly why Morali answers beyond the WORD. Simply stated, this is a question about people who do not accept the WORD.

So, when you state: "you have all this hierarchy making statements that make absolutely no sense, or directly contradict scripture ..." I wonder if you understand the subtlety of the question. Or it makes me think that you are simply preoccupied with coming up with examples of Catholic theologians going off half cocked away from scripture.

If you read the article again, you will see that the question/answer that you wonder about is set up with the scriptural based principle of "God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth, as St. Paul says in the Second Letter to Timothy. To know, in this sense, means to adhere, to welcome the Lord in one's life."

Catholics, especially Catholic theologians, do not as a rule start in the middle of nowhere. They work with scripture directly. Our Protestant brethren did help us as a church to get back to basics about 800 years ago. We all continue to grow in the Lord and the Lord's WORD. And by WORD I mean not only the bible but also the WORD of God as the 2nd person of the Trinity in the Eucharist within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Please continue to point out any time Catholic theologians do not base their theology or answers on Scripture. But, when you do so, you should prepare better and be sure you have a valid example and that it is not taken out of context. Otherwise, your example might show how Catholics, like most other Christians, base their theology on scripture and the WORD of God. And your example might show that some people look for issues to divide themselves from their fellow Christians (Catholics) that are not there. For when necessary, one might need to support simple/clear as a bell scripture, with Church teaching and tradition. Similarly, a Protestant might need to quote Calvin or Luther or any number of their respective teachers for support of scripture.
31 posted on 01/16/2006 3:16:48 PM PST by klossg (GK - God is good!)
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To: Cvengr; Kolokotronis

Kolokotronis in 14 also noted, correctly, that the choice of words is not the best, as we associate merit with an exchange transaction, when salvation obviously is not. However, here "merit" is clearly put in the context of lifelong faith and charitable works; the sovereignty of God in granting salvation is clearly stated. The statement is consistent with what the Church has always taught, that robust faith and works of charity are necessary for salvation.


32 posted on 01/16/2006 3:20:02 PM PST by annalex
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To: NYer
"...that those who observe with zeal the natural law and its precepts engraved by God in the hearts of all men, can attain eternal life if they are willing to obey God and lead a good life."

This is true, although the set of men who are able to lead a good life without faith in Christ is the null set, as their humanly good works, void of divine good is simply good for nothingness to be cast into the lake of Fire after the Great White Throne Judgment. This is a little fact that freemasons on many religious people fail to tell their juniors.

33 posted on 01/16/2006 3:21:17 PM PST by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: dangus

IMHO, I wouldn't go so far as to deny good of those who fail to have faith in Christ,...it's merely they have a knowledge of good and evil that isn't required for a relationship with God. On the contrary, many do-gooders confuse morality with having faith. I suspect there may be more carnal Christians and unbelievers who have succombed to a counterfeit God of good works due to their own intentions rather than a simple faith in Christ in even the least of things and will be quite surprised at either the bema seat or the Great White Throne Judgment.


34 posted on 01/16/2006 3:26:45 PM PST by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: annalex

"The statement is consistent with what the Church has always taught, that robust faith and works of charity are necessary for salvation."

To the extent that one understands that the works of charity are not some payment to God or for the piling up of merit but rather because charitable acts, properly undertaken, allow us to die a bit more to the self thereby becoming more receptive to grace which in turn leads to more "works" which lead to more dying to the self, which leads to becoming more receptive to grace, etc.


35 posted on 01/16/2006 3:32:24 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NYer

IMHO, the article goes much further to confuse believers who have fallen into religiousity and legalism into mistaken and confused notions. Rather than clarify the meanings of belief, faith, trustworthiness, doctrine, sanctification, life after salvation, and non-meritorious thinking, the article tends to encourage morality and now condoning any good in any environment as identifiable with God.

It might be noted that in every instance of Satan's falls in the Scripture, he was always promoting good and surrounded by perfect environment, yet in each case he failed to exhibit the mind of Christ and remain obedient to God by God's methods.


36 posted on 01/16/2006 3:40:40 PM PST by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: Cvengr
It might be noted that in every instance of Satan's falls in the Scripture, he was always promoting good and surrounded by perfect environment, yet in each case he failed to exhibit the mind of Christ and remain obedient to God by God's methods.

Do you mind giving me some Chapter and Verse references?

37 posted on 01/16/2006 4:04:47 PM PST by AlbionGirl
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To: AlbionGirl

From my notebook..

Perfect environment is insufficient to provide a relationship with God on His grounds.

We only have to look at each time in Scripture where God reveals to us a perfect environment surrounding Satan when he suffers a fall due to his rebellion from God's will.

1) In eternity past, Lucifer became Satan upon declaring the 5 "I wills'. At that time Lucifer was the light bearer, highest of all angels at the time as a member of the order of the Morning Star. Arrogance explains Satan's fall. He became enamored with his beauty, with his genius, with his ability, with all the attention and approbation he received. As a result, he revolted against God and said, "I will be like the Most High God," Isa 14:12-14.

Lucifer resided in heaven at that time in a perfect environment, declared the five 'I wills' and was cast down from heaven with a third of the angels.

2) In the Garden of Eden, again God created a perfect environment, free of sin, and the Adversary as the serpent tempted Eve, who then tempted Adam who rebelled on his own volition from God's will and in his spiritual death he surely died. Satan then made lower still, to be trampled under the foot of man, but also enmity was placed the in the heart of man toward Satan.

The fall of mankind in the Garden duplicates the fall of Satan in the Garden of God, according to Ezek 28. In both cases, the fall occurred under conditions of perfect environment.

With the fall of Adam, Satan became the ruler of this world. That in itself is the explanation for a tremendous amount of suffering in this world, because Satan, though brilliant and a genius, does not have the capabilities of producing the perfect environment he intends to produce before the Second Advent and millennial reign of Christ.


3) Once again, when our Lord and Savior was on earth, the volition of Satan tempted our Lord. Later, when unsuccessful at tempting our Lord to fall, Satan influenced others around Him so that they would use every device they could conceive to tempt our Lord away from remaining faithful in His thinking in soul and spirit and body to the will of the Father.

Upon our Lord's descension into Hades, a consequence of His first death, a state of existence involving separation of his spirit from His body and soul, being returned to the Father, and his soul having been separated from the body by His fleshly death with the body going to the grave for three days, and His soul descending to Hades, now that same perfect soul in Hades perfect in de re and de dicto, unlocked the gates of Abraham's Bosom another perfect environment, that allowed the believers to ascend and come face to face with our Lord in heaven. In contrast, the authority of Satan to use death as a weapon upon man was again fallen even to the depths of Hades itself.

Once again, Satan is diminished after a series of temptation and sins, but in this case, our Lord and Savior bore the sins of all mankind, past, present and future, and they were imputed upon Him. Satan however had no part in that propitiation. God in His perfect justice provided grace to those who also shared the same faith and allowed them to ascend, while no action was necessary for the dual of the argument further lowered the status of Satan amongst even those he held by the threat of death.

God also demonstrates that perfect environment is not the solution to man's problem. The solution resides in man's mental attitude, in his thought pattern, and in his resultant decisions all directed toward relationship with God.

In the case of Abraham's Bosom, indeed a type of perfect environment, when believers resided their in faith, even more grace was extended and they also were raised.

4) Our Lord Jesus Christ supersedes Satan as the ruler of this world under His third royal title, King of kings and Lord of lords, the Bright Morning Star. He rules for 1000 years under perfect environment. When He returns to the earth, Christ brings with Him His royal family of God in resurrection bodies.

Satan led a revolt against the perfect environment of heaven in which he took one third of all angels, Rev 12:4.

The Bible describes this perfect environment of the Millennium in many ways: "The lion and the lamb shall lie down side by side." "The swords will be turned into plowshares, the spears into pruning hooks; man will learn war no more." "The child will put his hand in the cobra's den and pet cobras." "The desert will blossom like a crocus." "A child will be a child for 100 years." In most cases, except for capital punishment for criminals, death will take a holiday and everyone will live through the entire Millennium. Everyone will have perfect health. There will be no such thing as starvation. Though there will be a little crime (inevitable since the old sin nature still exists), there will be no jails since the enforcement of capital punishment will tremendously discourage most crime.

In contrast to the terrible violence during the Tribulation, the millennial reign of Jesus Christ will be one of perfect environment in every way.

The instigation of the Gog Revolution against God and the perfect environment of the Millennium is tantamount to Satan's admission of his guilt, the guilt of all fallen angels, and the proof of guilt of all unregenerate mankind

Rev 12:9, "And the great dragon was thrown down out of heaven, the serpent of ancient times who is called the devil and Satan, who deceived the entire inhabited earth; he was cast down to the earth and his angels were cast out with him."

Then there is a post-historic sentence carried out against Satan and all fallen angels when they are cast into the Lake of Fire forever, Rev 20:10. Unbelievers of the human race are resurrected and cast into the Lake of Fire forever, Rev 20:11-15.


Rather than attacking one another, let's remain in faith with our Lord Christ Jesus and search the Scripture for even more significance in this rarely taught doctrine. It's a nice reminder whenever some get too enthralled by worldly or carnal luxuries without faith in God (not appealing to either asceticism or a frantic search for counterfeit happiness, but simply occupied with how how Lord Christ Jesus gave us the perfect example of how we all shoulf solve problems in all our thinking and approaches to all situations.


38 posted on 01/16/2006 6:35:32 PM PST by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: Mad Dawg

Greetings in Christ! Ironically your screen name is the name of a bar i go past on the way home from work so i have a vision of a bulldog in my mind as i type...but i digress...a few respectful comments to your post..

You stated:

"Here's a thought: Jesus says, "I have other sheep that ye know not of," (displaying a regrettable use of dangling prepositions, tsk, tsk). Now I know that a lot of Christians are only too eager to explain that He meant the Gentiles, and that therefore they DO in fact know of the sheep of whom Jesus says "ye know not of." Personally, I'm content to say that Jesus is right and I don't know of all His sheep."


I agree that none of us would know who those sheep are to even claim to know is foolishness...However, we do have the Holy Spirit's inspired words to guide us to a reasonable conclusion to who is saved...we know that those who have faith in Christ as their Savior, confess their sins, etc will live with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in paradise...to say that those are are "ignorant" of Christ aka the Jew who doens't know Christ, is to de-value Christ's death and promise of life thru him is it not? For if it is possible that eternal life can be achieved apart from him him then those who don't know him should never try to know him for they are invinsibly "in"...I truly believe The Holy Spirit can fuel the flame of faith in Christ in anyone's heart...anywhere, anytime...but the need to believe in Christ as our savior is a doctrine throughout the oral and written traditions of the chruch. If we were discussing pre Christ, then faith in God's promise of an impending Savior, Christ, is still pointing the faithful, the believers to Christ, whether or not they knew his name.

You stated:

"Just as an exercise, "... all who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" does not in itself necessarily imply that ONLY those who believe in Him can have everlasting life."

In regard to your use of John 3:16 for your point I would contend that if you continue the contextual meaning and include verses 17, 18 you will see the additional clarification that whoever does not believe is condemned...this tell us that those who do not believe + those who do believe = all who can either believe or not believe. There is no middle ground on this question, either you believe in Christ's promise or you don't...For those who are not familiar with the text see below:

"16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."



Regards in Christ...


On a lighter note, I wonder if the arguemnt of invincible ingorance works for speeding tickets?


39 posted on 01/16/2006 6:56:00 PM PST by phatus maximus (John 6:29...Learn it, love it, live it...)
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To: Kolokotronis

As a person reading how you put it and how the other quote was it does make a HUGE difference in how it's stated...the way you stated it Kolokotronis is agreeable to me...the way the other quote stated it is not because it changes the cause of salvation from faith, which incorporates works of love, to faith and works as seperate concepts...

works in and of themselves are not "bad" in the terms of the way many lutherans think of them...properly stated works of love are among the best things we can do because as you said the doing of such works allows Christ and the Holy Spirit to hold a larger and larger portion of our hearts allowing us to have a stronger and stronger faith and therefore a desire to do more and more works of love which, well you get the point......it all works in lock step, building on the foundation, the rock of ages, Christ...I guess to me it can be said that works of love without faith are just as dead as faith without works of love...after all, isnt' the goal to let the old ways of our life before Christ to fall by the wayside and our rebirth into Christ to shine as examples to the world to demonstrate our faith in our Savior?



In Christ...


I am a conservative lutheran by the way...


40 posted on 01/16/2006 7:11:35 PM PST by phatus maximus (John 6:29...Learn it, love it, live it...)
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To: Cvengr; NYer
The above is a blasphemous statement. God's justice isn't for sale by performing works of penance, or any meritorious thought we might have.Yawn...

We do good works in faith, not to buy our way into heaven. Faith without works is a dead faith.

"faith without deeds is dead" (James 2:26)

41 posted on 01/16/2006 7:37:46 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Cvengr
God also demonstrates that perfect environment is not the solution to man's problem. The solution resides in man's mental attitude, in his thought pattern, and in his resultant decisions all directed toward relationship with God.p>Yes.

It's a nice reminder whenever some get too enthralled by worldly or carnal luxuries without faith in God (not appealing to either asceticism or a frantic search for counterfeit happiness, but simply occupied with how how Lord Christ Jesus gave us the perfect example of how we all shoulf solve problems in all our thinking and approaches to all situations.

Again, yes. There was never an instance when I sincerely asked Our Lord how I should handle something and was not given an unequivocal reply.

Thanks for the response, by the way, and I have a question. As the Gospel of John notes:

In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.

Did Satan know Christ, when he rebelled? I realize this is not really an answerable question, I guess what I'm really asking is has it been speculated upon as to whether Lucifer's knowledge of Christ was part of the reason he rebelled?

42 posted on 01/16/2006 7:53:09 PM PST by AlbionGirl
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To: phatus maximus; Kolokotronis; annalex
As a person reading how you put it and how the other quote was it does make a HUGE difference in how it's stated...

Our abilities differ, but anyone who takes the time to read Roman Catholic teaching on works will understand that, theologically, the Latin Church and the Orthodox Church teach one and the same thing: good works are works of faith; faith without works is a dead faith.

This is not to say that, at one time, or even today, some Roman Catholics or Orthodox Christians do not, in pure ignorance or self-belief, contrary to the Church doctrines, believe that we can do good works outside of faith or that, worse, these works are "indulgences" with which we "pay off" our debt to God.

That being said, this is where we differ with Latins when it comes to after-life. The Latin teaching of Purgatory as a state where punishment leads to spiritual indulgences is foreign to Orthodoxy, but we do believe that our prayers and intercessions of the saints ease the discomfort of the souls of the departed. There is a huge difference, as you say, PM, in the two concepts. One suggests that our "indulgences" somehow pay off the debts of minor sins which cause discomfort or even pain to the souls of the departed, and (Orthodox teaching that prayers and fasts are) the easing of the discomfort of the souls who are in an unnatural state (separated from the body), with their unrepented sins exposed (shame comes to mind).

Ours are more like gentle patting on the backs and hugs; Catholic dogma is more an out-of-jail bond payment.

43 posted on 01/16/2006 7:55:00 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

Thanks for your reply...Interesting perspectives.

I have to admit this statement "Our abilities differ, but anyone who takes the time to read Roman Catholic teaching on works will understand that, theologically, the Latin Church and the Orthodox Church teach one and the same thing: good works are works of faith; faith without works is a dead faith" has not always been stated this way to me on here...I've have more than my share of RCC'r's not state it this way...

Blessings in Christ.


44 posted on 01/16/2006 8:00:51 PM PST by phatus maximus (John 6:29...Learn it, love it, live it...)
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To: AlbionGirl
I don't mean to jump in uninvited, AG, but to answer your question -- yes, there is speculation that Satan gained foreknowledge that the Son would become Incarnate as a lower being than an angel, and that this caused his rebellion. This is, of course, pure speculation since God does not reveil why Satan fell from God's grace.

It is obvious, however, that the nature of angelic sin is different because of the lack of flesh nature and associated passions that we are subject to. It is also to be noted that that the nature of angelic punishment for their fall is wihtout redemption, unforgivable.

One can only speculate as to why this is, but obviously the angls are held to a higher standard than men.

45 posted on 01/16/2006 8:05:57 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: phatus maximus; annalex; Kolokotronis
I've have more than my share of RCC'r's not state it this way

That's why I pinged annalex as my Catholic "censor maximus." :-)

I am no expert on this, but in exhanges between the Orthodox and the Catholics, the Latins assure us that their concepts of good works (through faith) and similar issues are identical.

The Purgatory is a different issue. But even there they assure us that our understanding of their concepts is a matter of differences in languge and concepts and not of faith. That I am not sure of.

46 posted on 01/16/2006 8:15:04 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

No such thing as you being uninvited; I value your knowledge. You touched on all the things I was thinking about, so it was very good that you 'jumped in.'


47 posted on 01/16/2006 8:31:50 PM PST by AlbionGirl
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To: AlbionGirl

Lucifer's rebellion occurred before the Garden of Eden or the creation of man. Angels might speculate but also do not know the future other than what has been revealed by the Father, as I understand it.


48 posted on 01/16/2006 8:43:35 PM PST by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: kosta50

I've considered James, but I've also found the 'dead'ness is a state of existence involving separation. The dead faith might be a separation between body and soul or spirit and body. Not necessarily a state of loss or without salvation from condemnation.


49 posted on 01/16/2006 8:47:44 PM PST by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: kosta50; Kolokotronis

There is a subtle difference on substance, I think, regarding the Purgatory, but I cannot quite put my finger on it. I promised Kolokotronis a good discussion on the Catholic theology of merit to see what exactly this thing is. But I also promised him a review of the excellent Cavarnos's book on iconography. One day, we'll get there.


50 posted on 01/16/2006 9:23:09 PM PST by annalex
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