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Radio Replies Second Volume - Grace and Salvation ^ | 1940 | Fathers Rumble & Carty

Posted on 10/30/2010 5:04:02 AM PDT by GonzoII

Grace and Salvation

697. Does Catholic dogma admit our Protestant doctrine that since Christ has paid the price of man's salvation, man is no longer in danger of losing his soul?

No. And you will find no support for your belief in the Bible. Christ Himself warns us to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation. That is meaningless, if temptation in no way endangers the soul. He said, "Blessed is that man who, when his lord cometh, is found watching." Lk 12:37. That implies that it is possible not to be in a fit state when called to judgment. Again and again He warns us of the danger of losing our souls, and puts the question, "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?" St. Paul tells us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. Those who think themselves to stand are told to beware lest they fall. Your once saved, always saved idea finds no justification in the Bible.

698. I say that Christ saved us by His death once and for all.

In other words, no man can be lost, in whatever wickedness he may indulge, and even though he persists in evil dispositions until his last conscious moments! According to your doctrine, therefore, it does not matter whether a man tries to live a good life or not. Whether he wants it or not, he's got to be saved. There is no other alternative. Christ was talking folly, according to you, when He said, "Fear not those who can kill the body, but who cannot kill the soul; but I will tell you whom to fear. Fear ye him who has power to destroy both body and soul in hell." Mt 10:28. If all men are necessarily saved, there's no need to fear anything at all. Again, why does our Lord tell us that, on the last day, all men will be judged, the good being rewarded, and the wicked sent to the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels? Your ideas do not harmonize with the Bible at all.

699. Our truly Protestant position is that the "just shall live by faith."

If that text is rightly interpreted as meaning that the just man must have faith, and must live in practice according to the requirements of his faith, it expresses the truly Catholic position. But the original Protestant position was that good works were in no way necessary for salvation, and that man is saved by faith alone. I call that the original Protestant position, for not one in a hundred Protestants today accepts it. Where the first Protestants said, "Not what a man does but what a man believes is the test of salvation," the modern Protestant says just the opposite. "Not what a man believes, but what he does," is the slogan among Protestants now. When Protestants say they will never lose their Protestant inheritance, I say they have lost it. The original Reformers, men like Luther, and Calvin, and Knox, would denounce their present position with violent rebuke.

700. Faith alone makes a man good. As soon as the idea arises that we become good and are saved by good works, they become utterly damnable.

If we turn to the real teaching of the New Testament, we find St. James saying, "Faith without works is dead. Do you not see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only?" Jas 2:20-24. Thus speaks St. James. He taught that both faith and works are required, and that both are taken into account at our judgment. But even if we take, not New Testament teaching, but Protestant teaching, we cannot say that good works fulfilled in order to obtain salvation are today regarded as utterly damnable by Protestants. That was Protestant teaching. It is not now.

701. I very much pity Roman Catholics.

Compassion for those whom you believe to be unfortunate is certainly to your credit. But your belief that Catholics are unfortunate is not justified by anything you urge in your letter. When the women of Jerusalem wept over our Lord during His passion, He said to them gently, "Weep not for Me. Weep for yourselves and your children." Lk 23:28. And I say the same to you, because, while believing in Christ, you pity Catholics precisely because their conduct is in accordance with Christian principles.

702. They always have to be striving to be good Roman Catholics.

That certainly is our doctrine. Surely if one is a Catholic, he ought to strive to be a good one. But your difficulty is concerned with the idea of striving. And you think that all this striving to be good is not in the spirit of Christianity. But did not Christ Himself say, "If you will enter into life, keep the commandments." Mt 19:17; and again, later, "If you love Me, keep My commandments"? Now one who wishes to be a good Catholic is told that he must strive to keep these commandments. And it is not always easy. It is easier to follow temptations opposed to them. Christ said, therefore, "Strive to enter by the narrow gate." Lk 13:24. He evidently believed in striving to be good Christians. St. Paul writes to the Galatians, Gal 6:7, "Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. In doing good, let us not fail. While we have time, let us work good to all men." And as if he had not insisted sufficiently on the necessity of striving to be good, he wrote to the Philippians, Phil 2:12, "With fear and trembling, work out your salvation." To the Corinthians, 1 Cor 9:24, he said, "Know you not that they who run in a race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And everyone who striveth for the victory, refraineth himself from various things. I run, but not carelessly; I fight, but not as one beating the air. But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection." What is all that but striving! In 1 Tim 6:11, he writes, "But thou, O man of God, pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness. Fight the good fight." Add to all this our Lord's constant warnings to us to be vigilant, to watch and pray, to pray without ceasing, and it is very difficult to see what you can find to condemn in our doctrine that one has always to be striving to be good.

703. Good works will never save anyone.

Natural good works, performed without any motive of love for God, and by one not in God's grace and friendship, will save no one. That is why St. Paul says, "If I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." 1 Cor 13:3. But good works inspired by love of God and performed by one in God's grace and friendship do contribute towards one's salvation. That is why the New Testament, in Jas 2:24, says, "By works a man is justified, and not by faith only." In fact, such good works are necessary for salvation, for St. James says in Jas 5:26, "For even as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."

704. St. Paul says, "Not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph 2:9.

St. Paul excludes works performed by one's own efforts, independently of God's grace. No man will be able to boast that he saved himself by his own efforts, and that he did not need the grace of Christ. But St. Paul did not contradict St. James who declared that, "By works a man is justified, and not by faith only." And this is the teaching of Christ who said, "If any man love Me, he will keep My commandments," and the keeping of Christ's commands means good works. We do need, besides good works, both faith and charity, and in the text you quote St. Paul is insisting upon faith as one necessary condition, a faith which is a gratuitous gift from God. But not for a moment does St. Paul mean that a man is saved by faith only, to the exclusion of good works.

705. As Christ died He said, "It is finished." He completed our salvation, and we believe in His finished work.

Christ's words, "It is finished," do not show that our salvation is completed in one glorious act. They indicate that He had fulfilled His part in the essential work of our redemption. But our part still remains. He has paid the price, but we shall be saved only if we fulfill the conditions necessary to profit by His death for us. And it is not enough to believe in the finished work of Christ by simple faith in order to secure eternal salvation in heaven with Him. Christ said to the Apostles, "Teach men to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Mt 28:20.

706. Did not St. Peter champion salvation by works of the Jewish Law, while St. Paul demanded salvation by faith?

Both St. Peter and St. Paul insisted upon salvation both by faith and good works. Did St. Peter insist on salvation by works only, when he wrote, "There is an inheritance reserved in heaven for you who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation"? 1 Pet 1:5. And how can people say that St. Paul championed salvation by faith to the exclusion of good works, when he wrote to the Galatians, "Be not deceived. God is not mocked. What things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. In doing good let us not fail. While we have time, let us work good to all men." Gal 6:8. He is a very shallow reader of Scripture who would confine St. Peter's teaching of salvation to works, and St. Paul's to faith. But, above all, it is a mystery how anyone can say that St. Peter based salvation on works of the Jewish Law, when we find him writing in his first epistle, 1 Pet 1:18, "You were not redeemed by your vain mode of living and the tradition of your fathers, but by the precious blood of Christ."

707. God must know beforehand whether a soul is born to be damned or otherwise.

No soul is born to be damned. God sincerely wills the salvation of all men, and gives all men sufficient grace to be saved. In fact He warns us all by conscience and by His commandments against the very things that could destroy our eternal happiness. He would not warn us against the things that take us to hell if He wanted us to go there. He would keep silent about them and let us go over the precipice.

708. If God knows a soul is to be damned, it is useless for that soul to try to attain salvation.

There is no predestination for damnation. Nor is it futile for an individual to endeavor to save his soul. God says even to the worst sinners, "Repent, and if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow." Isa 1:18. If a man is lost, it will be solely through his own fault. God may know that certain souls will choose to damn themselves, but He knows they have not got to do so, nor does His knowledge make them do so. Knowledge doesn't cause an event, the event causes knowledge. Because Jack is running I know that he is running. But he certainly isn't running because I know it. God knows that a man will choose to lose his soul only because that man will so choose. There is no need for him to choose so disastrously. He receives sufficient grace for his conversion. Let him correspond with the voice of God and of conscience, repenting of his sins, and he will be saved. It is not futile for him to endeavor to save his soul, and if he is lost it will be precisely because he did not endeavor to do so. Just imagine a farmer who says: God knows whether I'm going to have a crop or not. If He knows, I'll have it, whatever I do. If He knows that I won't have it, I won't have it, whatever I do. So I won't plough, I won't sow any seed, it's futile. Such a man is working on the absurd idea that knowledge causes the event instead of realizing that the event causes knowledge of it. Let us all do our best in the service of God, the practice of extra virtue, the avoiding of sin and the desire of holiness. If we do, the practical result will be our salvation. The solution of the speculative problems can safely be left to God.

709. Was not St. Augustine, an orthodox Catholic bishop, author of the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination to hell?

No. Calvin certainly did not get that doctrine from St. Augustine, though he may have pretended to do so. G. P. Fisher, Protestant professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale University, in his standard work "The History of the Christian Church," page 321, says that Calvin, in his "Institutes," went further than Augustine, declaring that sin, and consequently damnation, are the effect of an efficient decree of God. Now St. Augustine could not have taught that doctrine, if Calvin had to go further than Augustine in order to teach it! But let us go to St. Augustine himself. A man who believed that some men are predestined to hell no matter what they might do, could not possibly write as follows. In his book on "Catechizing the Ignorant," St. Augustine writes, "The merciful God wishes to liberate men from eternal ruin, if they are not enemies to themselves, and do not resist the mercy of their Creator. For this purpose He sent His only-begotten Son." Again he writes in his book "On the Spirit and the Letter," "God wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth; but not in such a way as to take away their free will, according to the good or bad use of which they will be most justly judged." No man who believed that God predestines some men to hell could write those words. Those who claim St. Augustine as the author of Calvinistic predestination to hell have never understood St. Augustine; and perhaps have never made anything like a serious study of his works. The Pelagian heretics denied the necessity of grace for salvation. St. Augustine insisted that man cannot save himself without the grace of God. He insisted, too, that grace, being grace, must be a gratuitous gift of God which, though given to all men, could not be due under any title of justice to them. Calvinists made the unwarranted conclusion for themselves that, because it was not due in justice, therefore it was not given to some; and that God therefore created some souls intending them for hell. But St. Augustine never taught that.

710. Why should a good-living Catholic go to hell because he dies without repentance after committing mortal sin, while a bad Catholic, sinful all his life, repents at the last moment, and goes to heaven?

Take the good Catholic first. To live his good life he kept the commandments of God. But no observance of God's commandments gives any subsequent right to break them. If he breaks God's commandments by later mortal sin and refuses to repent, he dies in a state of mortal sin and at enmity with God. He necessarily goes to hell, though he need not necessarily have fallen into a state of sin, and further, need not necessarily have remained in such a state. A previous good life in no way justifies later sins. If a man commits murder on Wednesday, is it any defense that he did not commit adultery on the preceding Tuesday? Now take your poor sinner, who, after living a bad life, repents and saves his soul. By repentance, he recovers God's grace. And he is saved, because he availed himself of God's mercy, asked for forgiveness, and died in God's friendship. The one-time good man is not lost because of his previous good life, and this man is not saved because of his previous bad life. There would be injustice if that were the case. But it is not. The one-time good man is lost because he nullified his good life by subsequent sin; the bad man is saved because he nullified his bad life by subsequent repentance and a request to share in the merits of Christ.

711. What value has a deathbed repentance when a soul has steadfastly refused to submit to God's will during life?

If there be a sincere deathbed repentance the soul would be saved, provided the sorrow were perfect, or, if imperfect, it had the assistance of the Sacraments of the Church. But steadfast refusal during life to do God's will does not give much hope of a deathbed repentance. Firstly, God has promised forgiveness to those who do repent. But He has never promised time to repent. He says Himself that death may come to us at any moment and blessed is the one who is found to be watching. That does not augur well for the unprepared. Secondly, even granted some form of regret, the ingrained dispositions of a soul which has steadfastly refused to do God's will during life do not give much hope of suddenly attaining to a perfect love of God and perfect sorrow for past sins. And if such a soul dies without the Sacraments, it is lost. Yet such a soul has done nothing to deserve the happiness of the Sacraments. We are warned over and over again by God against the presumption of delay in our conversion to Him. To carry on in sinful dispositions, determined to go on with them, is the conduct of a fool. The only safe preparation for a good death is a good life.

712. What value has repentance when a soul decides to conform to God's will only when this life offers no further hopes of self-indulgence. The only motive is expediency and fear of the fate awaiting the wicked.

If such repentance proceeds from a purely natural dread it is not really repentance at all, and has no value whatever. If it proceeds solely from a supernatural fear based upon faith in the revealed doctrine of hell, it would have sufficient value to save a soul provided the Sacraments were received. Otherwise it would not save the soul. And there is no guarantee that a priest could be obtained in time for the administration of the Sacraments. We do not know whether we are to die of a slow illness, giving us plenty of time to prepare to meet God, or suddenly of heart failure. God could take me as I am talking to you at this moment, and without the slightest warning. Mere fear of what will happen to us will not of itself save us. Perfect sorrow without the Sacraments will save us. Imperfect sorrow with the Sacraments will save us. But imperfect sorrow without the Sacraments is powerless to do so. The persistent and habitual sinner cannot rely on salvation except by taking it for granted that he will have the opportunity to receive the Sacraments, or that he will suddenly attain to perfect dispositions of love and sorrow which are absolutely alien to his distorted and warped nature. It is clear that there is no justification for his taking these things for granted. The only real security is the security of a good conscience, and the only possible advice to the man who is not running straight with God is that he should square up, repent sincerely of the past, and begin to serve God. Let us remember the words of Christ, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee," Lk 12:20, and His estimate, "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul." Mt 16:26. Our Lord made both. And He ought to know. To risk one's soul for anything this life can offer is to be a fool. To be prepared to make any sacrifice rather than jeopardize one's eternal salvation is wisdom.

713. I heard a Missioner say that God is not satisfied with the last miserable year of a sinner's life. That is, it is no use accepting Christ in the last year of life.

You are making the priest say more than he did say. He did not say that it was no use repenting of one's sins at the end of life. God has promised forgiveness whenever a man sincerely repents of his sins, even though it be with his very last breath. A man who thus repents will at least save his soul, and God is more satisfied with that than He would be, did the man not repent at all. The mission priest you heard was trying to bring home the fact that, if God is worth serving in the last year of a man's life, He is worth serving throughout life. Scripture itself says that it is indeed good to have served God from one's youth. Nobility of soul rebels against the thought of spending all one's best years in sin, and offering God the dregs of one's life. And that is certainly not the way to serve God as God must wish. But we cannot conclude from that that it is no use turning to God at the last. If one has not served God as he should, it is of the utmost use to die at least repenting of one's sins; and the more one's sins the greater one's obligation to repent of them.

714. According to Catholic doctrine a murderer can repent and save his soul. But what of his victim, killed with no time to repent? That does not seem fair to me.

It is certain that the murderer can repent and save his soul, though he will have to expiate in Purgatory the injustice of taking his neighbor's life, so much greater than the mere taking of his property. Meantime we have to remember that if the victim were in a state of mortal sin at the moment of the tragedy, the murderer was not responsible for his being in such a state. Death may come to a man in any one of many ways, whether slowly by disease, or suddenly by accident, or even by the ill will of some fellow human being. But whenever death comes, and however it comes, no man has a right to be in a state of sin at that decisive moment. Every man has the obligation to be ready to meet God just when God takes him, and by whatever means he is taken. So Christ warns us, "Watch ye, therefore, because you know not what hour your Lord will come." Mt 24:42. And again, "If the householder did know at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch and not suffer his house to be broken open. Be ye then also ready, for at what hour you think not the Son of man will come." Lk 12:39. In actual practice, of course, we cannot say that any man has been killed with no time for repentance. In a flash, quicker than the speed of any bullet, God could offer a man all the graces necessary for a complete reconciliation with Him. We cannot therefore form any certain judgment concerning the actual fate of any soul, and must leave that question to God. He alone knows the interior dispositions of each soul as He recalls it to Himself. Of one thing we are sure. Every soul receives sufficient grace for its salvation. Of one thing we are ignorant — of the manner in which God dispenses that grace. And we must leave each soul to God, refusing to judge concerning its eternal destiny.

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TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; radiorepliesvoltwo

Preface To Volume One of "Radio Replies"



Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics "adore statues"; because they "put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God"; because they say "indulgence is a permission to commit sin"; because the Pope "is a Fascist"; because the "Church is the defender of Capitalism." If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.

If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine.

If then, the hatred of the Church is founded on erroneous beliefs, it follows that basic need of the day is instruction. Love depends on knowledge for we cannot aspire nor desire the unknown. Our great country is filled with what might be called marginal Christians, i.e., those who live on the fringe of religion and who are descendants of Christian living parents, but who now are Christians only in name. They retain a few of its ideals out of indolence and force of habit; they knew the glorious history of Christianity only through certain emasculated forms of it, which have married the spirit of the age and are now dying with it. Of Catholicism and its sacraments, its pardon, its grace, its certitude and its peace, they know nothing except a few inherited prejudices. And yet they are good people who want to do the right thing, but who have no definite philosophy concerning it. They educate their children without religion, and yet they resent the compromising morals of their children. They would be angry if you told them they were not Christian, and yet they do not believe that Christ is God. They resent being called pagans and yet they never take a practical cognizance of the existence of God. There is only one thing of which they are certain and that is that things are not right as they are. It is just that single certitude which makes them what might be called the great "potentials," for they are ready to be pulled in either of two directions. Within a short time they must take sides; they must either gather with Christ or they must scatter; they must either be with Him or against Him; they must either be on the cross as other Christs, or under it as other executioners. Which way will these marginal Christians tend? The answer depends upon those who have the faith. Like the multitudes who followed Our Lord into the desert, they are as sheep without a shepherd. They are waiting to be shepherded either with the sheep or goats. Only this much is certain. Being human and having hearts they want more than class struggle and economics; they want Life, they want Truth, and they want Love. In a word, they want Christ.

It is to these millions who believe wrong things about the Church and to these marginal Christians, that this little book is sent. It is not to prove that they are "wrong"; it is not to prove that we are "right"; it is merely to present the truth in order that the truth may conquer through the grace of God. When men are starving, one need not go to them and tell them to avoid poison; nor to eat bread because there are vitamins in bread. One need only go to them and tell them that they are starving and here is bread, and the laws of nature will do the rest. This book of "Radio Replies" with 1,588 questions and answers goes out on a similar mission. Its primary task is not to humble the erroneous; not to glorify the Catholic Church as intellectual and self-righteous, but to present the truth in a calm, clear manner in order that with the grace of God souls may come to the blessed embrace of Christ.

It is not only the point of "Radio Replies" to prove that the Church is the only completely soul-satisfying Church in existence at the present day; it is also to suggest that the Catholic Church is the only Church existing today which goes back to the time of Christ. History is so very clear on this point, it is curious how many minds miss its obviousness. When therefore you, the readers of "Radio Replies" in the twentieth century, wish to know about Christ and about His early Church, and about His mysteries, we ask you to go not only to the written records but to the living Church which began with Christ Himself. That Church or that Mystical Person which has been living all these centuries is the basis of our faith and to us Catholics it speaks this way: "I live with Christ. I saw His Mother and I know her to be a Virgin and the loveliest and purest of all women in heaven or on earth; I saw Christ at Caesarea-Philippi, when, after changing Simon's name to Rock, He told him he was the rock upon which the Church would be built and that it would endure unto the consummation of the world. I saw Christ hanging on a cross and I saw Him rise from His tomb; I saw Magdalene rush to His feet; I saw the angels clad in white beside the great stone; I was in the Cenacle room when doubting Thomas put fingers into His hands; I was on Olivet when He ascended into heaven and promised to send His Spirit to the apostles to make them the foundation of His new Mystical Body on earth. I was at the stoning of Stephen, saw Saul hold the garments of those who slew him, and later I heard Saul, as Paul, preach Christ and Him crucified; I witnessed the beheading of Peter and Paul in Rome, and with my very eyes saw tens of thousands of martyrs crimson the sands with their blood, rather than deny the faith Peter and Paul had preached unto them; I was living when Boniface was sent to Germany, when Augustine when to England, Cyril and Methodius to the Poles, and Patrick to Ireland; at the beginning of the ninth century I recall seeing Charlemagne crowned as king in matters temporal as Peter's vicar was recognized as supreme in matters spiritual; in the thirteenth century I saw the great stones cry out in tribute to me, and burst into Gothic Cathedrals; in the shadows of those same walls I saw great Cathedrals of thought arise in the prose of Aquinas and Bonaventure, and in the poetry of Dante; in the sixteenth century I saw my children softened by the spirit of the world leave the Father's house and reform the faith instead of reforming discipline which would have brought them back again into my embrace; in the last century and at the beginning of this I heard the world say it could not accept me because I was behind the times. I am not behind the times, I am only behind the scenes. I have adapted myself to every form of government the world has ever known; I have lived with Caesars and kings, tyrants and dictators, parliaments and presidents, monarchies and republics. I have welcomed every advance of science, and were it not for me the great records of the pagan world would not have been preserved. It is true I have not changed my doctrine, but that is because the ‘doctrine is not mine but His who sent Me.’ I change my garments which belong to time, but not my Spirit which belongs to eternity. In the course of my long life I have seen so many modern ideas become unmodern, that I know I shall live to chant a requiem over the modern ideas of this day, as I chanted it over the modern ideas of the last century. I celebrated the nineteen-hundredth anniversary of the death of my Redeemer and yet I am no older now than then, for my Spirit is Eternal, and the Eternal never ages. I am the abiding Personage of the centuries. I am the contemporary of all civilizations. I am never out of date, because the dateless; never out of time, because the timeless. I have four great marks: I am One, because I have the same Soul I had in the beginning; I am Holy, because that Soul is the Spirit of Holiness; I am Catholic, because that Spirit pervades every living cell of my Body; I am Apostolic, because my origin is identical with Nazareth, Galilee and Jerusalem. I shall grow weak when my members become rich and cease to pray, but I shall never die. I shall be persecuted as I am persecuted now in Mexico and Russia; I shall be crucified as I was on Calvary, but I shall rise again, and finally when time shall be no more, and I shall have grown to my full stature, then shall I be taken into heaven as the bride of my Head, Christ, where the celestial nuptials shall be celebrated, and God shall be all in all, because His Spirit is Love and Love is Heaven."



Introduction To The American Edition Of "Radio Replies" Vol One


"Radio Replies" by Rev. Dr. Rumble, M.S.C., is the result of five years of answering questions during a one-hour Question Box Program over Radio Station 2SM Sydney, N.S.W. The revision of "Radio Replies" for American readers was prompted by the widespread interest the Australian edition created among Protestants and Catholics during the summer of 1937, when I was carrying on as a Catholic Campaigner for Christ, the Apostolate to the man in the street through the medium of my trailer and loud-speaking system. In the distribution of pamphlets and books on Catholicism "Radio Replies" proved the most talked of book carried in my trailer display of Catholic literature. The clergy and laymen engaged in Street Preaching agree that it is not so much what you say over the microphone in answer to questions from open air listeners but what you GET INTO THEIR HANDS TO READ.

My many converts of the highways and parks throughout the Archdiocese of St. Paul have embraced the faith as a result of studying this book. Whole families have come into the Church through reading the book by this renowned convert from Anglicanism. The delay in getting copies from Sydney and the prohibitive cost of the book on this side of the universe led me to petition the author to have published a CHEAP AMERICAN EDITION in order to get this Encyclopaedia of Catholic Doctrine into the hands of fellow citizens. Because of the author's genius for brevity, preciseness, fearlessness and keen logic that avoids the usually long Scriptural and Traditional arguments of the average question and answer book, which is beyond the capacity of the man in the street, this manual of 1,588 questions and replies has already attracted readers throughout Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India, England, Ireland, Canada and now the United States.

The questions he answers are the questions I had to answer before friendly and hostile audiences throughout my summer campaign. The piquant and provocative subject matter of this book makes it a fascinating assembly of 300 or more worth-while pamphlet tracts, a dictionary of doctrine for the desk of the FAMILY, the STUDENT, the SHOP HAND, the OFFICE WORKER, the ATTORNEY, the DOCTOR, the TEACHER, and the PREACHER. It is a handy standard reference book of excellence for popular questions which are more than ever being asked by restless and bewildered multitudes. It is a textbook for the Confraternities of Christian Doctrine Classes and Study Clubs.

A non-Catholic Professor after reading the book stated that, "If the Catholic Church could defend herself so logically as 'Radio Replies' demonstrates, then I do not see why you don't get more converts." Members of the Knights of Columbus, the Holy Name Societies and numerous women's societies have written in that they no longer have to apologetically say, "I can't answer that one." Catholic students in non-sectarian colleges and universities write in that they now walk the campus with this book under their arms, ready for all challenges and that this manual of ready reference has cured their INFERIORITY COMPLEX ON EXPOSITION OF CATHOLIC CLAIMS. Lapsed Catholics have come into my trailer-office to confess that the reading of "Radio Replies" has brought them back to the Church.

I am grateful to His Excellency Archbishop John G. Murray, D.D. for his approval of this compendium of dogmatic and moral theology for readers of the American Commonwealth and I am deeply appreciative to Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen, D.D. for writing the Preface to this American edition.

From my experience on the Catholic Radio Hour, on the lecture platform, and in the pulpit, I do not hesitate to say that HERE AT LAST is the book that has something for everybody, the book for the UNINFORMED CATHOLIC, THE UNEDUCATED AND EDUCATED LAPSED CATHOLIC, and the PROSPECTIVE CONVERT.

Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty




Historical Context of "Radio Replies"

By markomalley

If one recalls the time frame from which Radio Replies emerged, it can explain some of the frankness and lack of tact in the nature of the responses provided.

It was during this timeframe that a considerable amount of anti-Catholic rhetoric came to the forefront, particularly in this country. Much of this developed during the Presidential campaign of Al Smith in 1928, but had its roots in the publication of Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons, originally published in book form in 1919 and also published in pamphlet form in 1853.

While in Britain (and consequently Australia), the other fellow would surely have experienced the effects of the Popery Act, the Act of Settlement, the Disenfranchising Act, the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, and many others since the reformation (that basically boiled down to saying, "We won't kill you if you just be good, quiet little Catholics"). Even the so-called Catholic Relief Acts (1778, 1791, 1829, 1851, 1871) still had huge barriers placed in the way.

And of course, they'd both remember the American Protective Association, "Guy Fawkes Days" (which included burning the Pontiff in effigy), the positions of the Whigs and Ultra-Torries, and so on.

A strong degree of "in your face" from people in the position of authoritativeness was required back in the 1930s, as there was a large contingent of the populations of both the US and the British Empire who were not at all shy about being "in your face" toward Catholics in the first place (in other words, a particularly contentious day on Free Republic would be considered a mild day in some circles back then). Sure, in polite, educated circles, contention was avoided (thus the little ditty about it not being polite to discuss religion in public, along with sex and politics), but it would be naive to assume that we all got along, or anything resembling that, back in the day.

Having said all of the above, reading the articles from the modern mindset and without the historical context that I tried to briefly summarize above, they make challenging reading, due to their bluntness.

The reader should also keep in mind that the official teaching of the Church takes a completely different tone, best summed up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers .... All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272

819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324

269 UR 3 § 1.
270 Cf. CIC, can. 751.
271 Origen, Hom. in Ezech. 9,1:PG 13,732.
272 UR 3 § 1.
273 LG 8 § 2.
274 UR 3 § 2; cf. LG 15.
275 Cf. UR 3.
276 Cf. LG 8.
322 LG 15.
323 UR 3.
324 Paul VI, Discourse, December 14, 1975; cf. UR 13-18.

1 posted on 10/30/2010 5:04:07 AM PDT by GonzoII
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To: fidelis; MI; Sir_Humphrey; dsc; annalex; Citizen Soldier; bdeaner; CatQuilt; Graing; bboop; ...

Radio Replies Ping

FReep-mail me to get on or off

“The Radio Replies Ping-List”


2 posted on 10/30/2010 5:05:06 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: All

The Radio Replies Series: Volume One

The Radio Replies Series: Volume Two

Chapter One: God

Radio Replies Volume Two: Proof of God's Existence
Radio Replies Volume Two: God's Nature
Radio Replies Volume Two: Supreme Control Over All Things and the Problem of Suffering and Evil

Chapter Two: Man

Radio Replies Volume Two: Destiny of Man/Death
Radio Replies Volume Two: Immortality of Man's Soul & Pre-existence Denied
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Human Free Will
Radio Replies Volume Two: Determinism Absurd

Chapter Three: Religion

Radio Replies Volume Two: Necessity of Religion
Radio Replies Volume Two: Salvation of the Soul
Radio Replies Volume Two: Voice of Science
Radio Replies Volume Two: Religious Racketeers
Radio Replies Volume Two: Divine Revelation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Revealed Mysteries
Radio Replies Volume Two: Existence of Miracles

Chapter Four: The Religion of the Bible

Radio Replies Volume Two: Gospels Historical
Radio Replies Volume Two: Missing Books of the Bible
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Bible Inspired
Radio Replies Volume Two: Biblical Account of Creation
Radio Replies Volume Two: New Testament Problems

Radio Replies Volume Two: Supposed Contradictions in Sacred Scripture

Chapter Five: The Christian Faith

Radio Replies Volume Two: Source of Christian Teaching
Radio Replies Volume Two: Jewish Rejecton of Christ
Radio Replies Volume Two: Christianity a New Religion
Radio Replies Volume Two: Rational Foundation for Belief
Radio Replies Volume Two: Causes of Unbelief

Chapter Six: A Definite Christian Faith

Radio Replies Volume Two: Divisions Amongst Christians
Radio Replies Volume Two: Schisms Unjustified
Radio Replies Volume Two: Facing the Problem
Radio Replies Volume Two: Wrong Approach
Radio Replies Volume Two: Is One Religion as Good as Another?

Radio Replies Volume Two: Obligation of Inquiry
Radio Replies Volume Two: Charity and Tolerance

Chapter Seven: The Protestant Reformation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Meaning of "Protestant"
Radio Replies Volume Two: Causes of the Reformation
Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholic Reaction
Radio Replies Volume Two: Reformers Mistaken
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Idealization of Protestantism
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Catholic Estimate

Chapter Eight: The Truth of Catholicism

Radio Replies Volume Two: Meaning of the Word "Church"
Radio Replies Volume Two: Origin of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Catholic Claim
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Roman Hierarchy
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Pope

Radio Replies Volume Two: The Petrine Text
Radio Replies Volume Two: St. Peter's Supremacy
Radio Replies Volume Two: St. Peter in Rome
Radio Replies Volume Two: Temporal Power
Radio Replies Volume Two: Infallibility

Radio Replies Volume Two: Unity of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Holiness of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholicity of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Apostolicity of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Indefectibility of the Church
Radio Replies Volume Two: Obligation to be a Catholic

Chapter Nine: The Church and the Bible

Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholic Attitude Towards the Bible
Radio Replies Volume Two: Is Bible Reading Forbidden to Catholics?
Radio Replies Volume Two: Protestant Bibles
Radio Replies Volume Two: Catholic Douay Version
Radio Replies Volume Two: Principle of Private Interpretation

Radio Replies Volume Two: Need of Tradition
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Teaching Authority of the Catholic Church

Chapter Ten: The Dogmas of the Church

Radio Replies Volume Two: Revolt Against Dogma
Radio Replies Volume Two: Value of a Creed
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Divine Gift of Faith
Radio Replies Volume Two: Faith and Reason
Radio Replies Volume Two: The "Dark Ages"

Radio Replies Volume Two: The Claims of Science
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Holy Trinity
Radio Replies Volume Two: Creation and Evolution
Radio Replies Volume Two: Angels
Radio Replies Volume Two: Devils

Radio Replies Volume Two: Man
Radio Replies Volume Two: Reincarnation
Radio Replies Volume Two: Sin
Radio Replies Volume Two: Christ
Radio Replies Volume Two: Mary

Radio Replies Volume Two: Grace and Salvation

3 posted on 10/30/2010 5:05:46 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

Oh where to start. The misinterpretation of the Bible is rampant. The insidious misleading of those who would long for truth is saddening. I will take one point made in the article that leads so many people astray.

>>”Faith without works is dead. Do you not see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only?” Jas 2:20-24.<<

The above verse is used to justify the erroneous concept that a person needs to do something physical to earn their salvation. They use the human definition of what works is to interpret what God means. The guilt and doubt that this interpretation causes is exactly what Satan wants in the lives of those who long for the true salvation earned by Jesus on the Cross. Let’s look at what Jesus Himself said about what is meant.

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:28-29

The lies of Satan have kept the true peace that believers could have from being a reality in their lives. Jesus paid the price, the full price, and any attempt of Satan to convince that that sacrifice was not full and complete needs to be put to death by the light of God’s truth. Forever put the lie that plants guilt out of your life forever.

“believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-and your house” That, and that alone, because of the sacrifice of Jesus is what will give the true peace that Jesus promised. Any attempt to convince us that man can somehow earn any portion of his salvation is not from God.

4 posted on 10/30/2010 6:52:31 AM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear
“believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-and your house”

You forgot baptism:

Mk 16: 16 He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.

5 posted on 10/30/2010 9:05:11 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

>> Mk 16: 16 He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.<<

Sorry dude. The second part of that verse even contradicts your assertion. It doesn’t say that the lack of being baptized shall cause one to be condemned. It specifically says the believe part.

If baptism was required the thief on the cross would not have been saved and many throughout the Bible would not have been but Jesus specifically said they were. To say that Baptism is required is to say that Jesus sacrifice on the Cross was insufficient for Salvation.

6 posted on 10/30/2010 9:11:53 AM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear
"Sorry dude. The second part of that verse even contradicts your assertion."

The ball is in your hand you've got to deal with the words of Christ himself.

The thief was saved by his desire to be saved which is an exceptance to the rule, its called baptism of desire.

7 posted on 10/30/2010 9:23:05 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

>>its called baptism of desire.<<

Now that there is funny! You’re saying the thief on the cross was baptized by desire and others who have the desire to be saved so profess a belief in Jesus aren’t? You can’t be serious. Besides, that is not what even the Catholic Church doctrines say. I’m assuming of course that you are Catholic by faith.

Baptism is only symbolic and any other assertion is demeaning the death and resurrection of Jesus.

8 posted on 10/30/2010 9:31:54 AM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear
"Baptism is only symbolic and any other assertion is demeaning the death and resurrection of Jesus." Show me that verse in the Bible.
9 posted on 10/30/2010 9:39:37 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

THis kind of thing is allowed and Jack Chick is not?

10 posted on 10/30/2010 10:13:26 AM PDT by Grunthor (I learned only after Obamas' election that I am a racist, SEXIST, homophobe, anarchist.)
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To: CynicalBear

“To say that Baptism is required is to say that Jesus sacrifice on the Cross was insufficient for Salvation.”

That right there looks like tagline material.


11 posted on 10/30/2010 10:16:12 AM PDT by Grunthor (I learned only after Obamas' election that I am a racist, SEXIST, homophobe, anarchist.)
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To: CynicalBear
"You’re saying the thief on the cross was baptized by desire and others who have the desire to be saved so profess a belief in Jesus aren’t?"

If they know the obvious words of Scripture requiring Baptism after recieving the gift of faith and refuse it they will be condemned as Christ says.

12 posted on 10/30/2010 10:43:52 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: All


2 Tim. 4:8 – Protestants often use this verse to prove “once saved, always saved,” even in the face of all Paul wrote about the possibility of losing his salvation (including his). But it is only at end of Saint Paul’s life that he has a moral certitude of salvation. This is after a lifetime of perseverance. As faithful believers in Christ, we indeed have a moral certitude of our salvation, but this is different from being certain of our salvation. We must persevere throughout our lives, and can choose to fall away.

Also, Catholics have more assurance of salvation that those who espouse “once saved, always saved.” This is because the only distinction between a true Christian and a superficial Christian is that the superficial Christian will not persevere to the end – but this is something a Christian cannot know during his life, and this necessarily imposes uncertainty upon him until the end. For Catholics, we know that salvation is ours to lose. For “once saved, always saved” Protestants, they don’t even know whether it is theirs to begin with.

Rom. 11:29 – “the gifts and the call of our God our irrevocable.” Some Protestants use this to prove “once saved, always saved.” But this verse has nothing to do with our response to salvation. It deals with God’s unmerited gifts and call to us. Moreover, if a person is in “the elect,” then his salvation is irrevocable. But we can never know if we are in the elect during our lives (“the elect” only deals with God’s knowledge).

Rom. 14:4 – and he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand. This is another verse Protestants use to prove “once saved, always saved.” But the verse speaks only to what God is able to do. It does not address what the person is free to do (accept God’s grace or reject it).

Phil. 1:6 – “I am sure that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Protestants also use this verse to prove “once saved, always saved.” But Protestants wouldn’t argue that the whole Philippi church was saved, so this statement must be qualified. In fact, Paul does qualify it in Phil. 2:13 when he warns them to work out their salvation “in fear and trembling,” and in Phil. 3:11-14 when he writes that “if possible,” he may obtain the resurrection, and that he has not yet received the prize (of salvation). Moreover, the verse tells us what God will do (He will give all the grace to bring us to completion), but says nothing about our cooperation with God’s grace.

Phil. 4:3 – some Protestants point to this verse about names which are in the book of life. Indeed, because God knows the future, He knows who will persevere (the elect). These are the people whose names are in the book of life. But Jesus in Rev. 3:5 warns us that He can blot our names out of the book of life if we fail to persevere.

Col. 3:23-24 – “work heartily as serving the Lord, not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.” This is another verse used to prove “once saved, always saved.” But the verse says our inheritance depends on “working heartily.” It’s not just a matter of accepting Christ as Savior, but working heartily in perseverance. If we persevere, then we will indeed receive the inheritance as our reward.

2 Tim. 1:12 – “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” Another verse proving “once saved, always saved?” Of course not. Paul is writing about the Revelation of faith with which God has entrusted him, and specifically that God will preserve his ability to teach the faith until the end of his life (see v. 13 where Paul then exhorts Timothy to safeguard this deposit of faith as well).

2 Tim. 4:18 – “the Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me for his heavenly kingdom.” Again, this verse demonstrates God’s faithfulness to us, but God’s ability to save us also depends upon our cooperation. God preserves His elect, but only He knows who are His elect by His foreknowledge.

1 Peter 1:3-5 – Peter says we are born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and to an inheritance which is imperishable, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. No Protestant, however, would argue that all of northern Asia Minor (to whom the letter was addressed) was saved. The verse simply sets forth the tautology that God’s elect are saved (by God’s grace and the elect’s perseverance), but only God knows who are His elect.

1 John 5:18 – John writes that anyone born of God does not sin (this, of course, doesn’t say or prove anything about salvation). This is an example of proverbial literature which John uses frequently. For example, see 1 John 1:8 – if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Proverbial literature tries to make a point by using an absolute, even though the absolute is necessarily qualified (here, as seen by 1 John 1:8 which seemingly contradicts 1 John 5:18).

Psalm 37:28 – “For the Lord loves justice; He will not forsake His saints. The righteous shall be preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.” Again, this verse shows that God will give the graces necessary for the elect to persevere. Thus, they will be preserved. But the verse says nothing about how we can ever know who is among God’s elect.

Psalm 121:3,7-8 – “He will not let your foot be moved, He who keeps you will not slumber. The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever more.” This is another example of proverbial literature about how God will preserve His elect. But this also depends upon human cooperation. The verse is about how faithful God will be, not how faithful we will be.

Jer. 32:40 – God will make them an everlasting covenant, that He will not turn away from doing good to them; and He will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. This is another verse which describes the faithfulness of God and how He, through His grace, causes the elect to persevere to the end. But there are never any teachings in Scripture about how we know whether we are part of God’s elect.

13 posted on 10/30/2010 11:22:51 AM PDT by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
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To: johngrace

14 posted on 10/30/2010 11:24:45 AM PDT by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
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To: All

15 posted on 10/30/2010 11:26:25 AM PDT by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
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To: johngrace

Scripture Catholic is a great site, no?

16 posted on 10/30/2010 11:37:49 AM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

Yes! Mostly, It makes you think through the scriptures. I like these radio replies posts too. I like to read both sides of an issue. For instance I like to read or watch or listen to RC Sproul( He is reformed). I have Sky Angel tv which has a broad range of Christianity. Thanks Again for Radio Replies!

17 posted on 10/30/2010 11:51:16 AM PDT by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
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To: GonzoII

***If they know the obvious words of Scripture requiring Baptism after receiving the gift of faith and refuse it they will be condemned as Christ says.****

And yet it was believed at that time that baptism only cleansed you from past sins, no future sins could be washed away ( The SHEPHERD OF HERMAS allowed ONE sin after baptism). So, many people held off baptism till just before death. This is why Constantine refused to be baptized till near death.

One problem...sometimes the person died before being baptized which caused a problem.. to remedy this a person slipped under the bed the deceased was on, then when the priest asked the corpse if it wish to be baptised, the person uner the bed would say “yes”. then the priest would sprinkle the body and the person would be declared “saved”.

18 posted on 10/30/2010 12:57:22 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (I visited GEN TOMMY FRANKS Military Museum in HOBART, OKLAHOMA! Well worth it!)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
"So, many people held off baptism till just before death."

To risky for me!

19 posted on 10/30/2010 1:05:00 PM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

First, you need to understand that God works covenantally. A covenant is a pact or agreement between two or more parties. The New Testament and Old Testament are New and Old Covenants. The word “testament” comes from the Latin testamentum which means covenant. So, the Bible is a covenant document. If you do not understand covenant you cannot understand, in totality, the issue of baptism because baptism is a covenant sign.

If you fail to understand that God works covenantally and that He uses signs as manifestations of his covenants (rainbow, circumcision, communion, etc.) then you will not be able to understand where baptism fits in God’s covenant system.

Genesis 17: 11 “And ayou shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.

Romans 2: 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

If you understand that baptism is a covenant sign, then you can see that it is a representation of the reality of Christ circumcising our hearts (Rom. 2:29; Col. 2:11-12). It is our outward proclamation of the inward spiritual blessing of regeneration. It comes after faith which is a gift of God (Rom. 12:3) and the work of God (John 6:28).

Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (not by something man did such as baptism.)

Galations 2: 21 “I do not nullify the grace of God, for aif righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” (physical baptism would be considered a law that man must keep)

Saying that baptism is necessary for salvation is dangerous because it is saying that there is something we must do to complete salvation. That is wrong! See Gal. 2:21; 5:4.

The figure of baptism represents the reality of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It is a covenant sign for us. Remember, a covenant sign represents the covenant, it is not the covenant itself. The covenant sign of baptism represents the covenant of grace which is that covenant between God and the Christian where we receive the grace of God through the person of Christ by means of his sacrifice.

Titus 3:5, “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

The washing of rebirth can only be that washing of the blood of Christ that cleanses us. It is not the symbol that saves, but the reality. The reality is the blood of Christ.

20 posted on 10/30/2010 1:07:14 PM PDT by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear
"If you fail to understand that God works covenantally and that He uses signs as manifestations of his covenants"

We are not talking about signs here, this is an action that saves by imparting grace.

1 Pet 3: 20 Which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. 21 Whereunto baptism being of the like form, now saveth you also:

Jn 3: 5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

God's power is clearly manifested through material substances in Scripture:

3 Kgs 13: 20-21; Acts 5:15-16; Acts 19: 11-12.

Also I have the testimony of history which trumphs heresies:

Tradition / Church Fathers

I. “Born Again” Means Water Baptism

For Christ also said, 'Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers' wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above; he thus speaks: 'Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well…And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white like wool; and though they be as crimson, I will make them white as snow...And for this [rite] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the layer the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone…And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed." Justin Martyr, First Apology, 61 (A.D. 110-165).

"Moreover, the things proceeding from the waters were blessed by God, that this also might be a sign of men's being destined to receive repentance and remission of sins, through the water and laver of regeneration,--as many as come to the truth, and are born again, and receive blessing from God." Theopilus of Antioch, To Autolycus, 2:16 (A.D. 181).

" 'And dipped himself,' says [the Scripture], 'seven times in Jordan.' It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but it served as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions; being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: 'Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'" Irenaeus, Fragment, 34 (A.D. 190).

"When, however, the prescript is laid down that 'without baptism, salvation is attainable by none" (chiefly on the ground of that declaration of the Lord, who says, "Unless one be born of water, he hath not life.'" Tertullian, On Baptism, 12:1 (A.D. 203).

"But give me now your best attention, I pray you, for I wish to go back to the fountain of life, and to view the fountain that gushes with healing. The Father of immortality sent the immortal Son and Word into the world, who came to man in order to wash him with water and the Spirit; and He, begetting us again to incorruption of soul and body, breathed into us the breath (spirit) of life, and endued us with an incorruptible panoply. If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the layer he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead. Wherefore I preach to this effect: Come, all ye kindreds of the nations, to the immortality of the baptism." Hippolytus of Rome, Discourse on the Holy Theophany, 8 (A.D. 217).

"But you will perhaps say, What does the, baptism of water contribute towards the worship of God? In the first place, because that which hath pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because, when yon are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so at length you shall be able to attain salvation; hut otherwise it is impossible. For thus hath the true prophet testified to its with an oath: 'Verily I say to you, That unless a man is born again of water, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore make haste; for there is in these waters a certain power of mercy which was borne upon them at the beginning, and acknowledges those who are baptized under the name of the threefold sacrament, and rescues them from future punishments, presenting as a gift to God the souls that are consecrated by baptism. Betake yourselves therefore to these waters, for they alone can quench the violence of the future fire; and he who delays to approach to them, it is evident that the idol of unbelief remains in him, and by it be is prevented from hastening to the waters which confer salvation. For whether you be righteous or unrighteous, baptism is necessary for you in every respect: for the righteous, that perfection may be accomplished in him, and he may be born again to God; for the unrighteous, that pardon may he vouchsafed him of the sins which he has committed in ignorance. Therefore all should hasten to he born again to God without delay, because the end of every one's life is uncertain." Recognitions of Clement, 6:9 (A.D. 221).

"'But perhaps some one will say, What does it contribute to piety to be baptized with water? In the first place, because you do that which is pleasing to God; and in the second place, being born again to God of water, by reason of fear you change your first generation, which is of lust, and thus you are able to obtain salvation. But otherwise it is impossible. For thus the prophet has sworn to us, saying, 'Verily I say to you, Unless ye be regenerated by living water into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Wherefore approach. For there is there something that is merciful from the beginning, home upon the water, and rescues from the future punishment those who are baptized with the thrice blessed invocation, offering as gifts to God the good deeds of the baptized whenever they are done after their baptism. Wherefore flee to the waters, for this alone can quench the violence of fires. He who will not now come to it still bears the spirit of strife, on account of which he will not approach the living water for his own salvation." Pseudo-Clementines, Homily 11:26 (A.D. 221).

"The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sins, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit." Origen, Commentary on Romans, 5:9 (A.D. 244).

"[W]hen they come to us and to the Church which is one, ought to be baptized, for the reason that it is a small matter to 'lay hands on them that they may receive the Holy Ghost,' unless they receive also the baptism of the Church. For then finally can they be fully sanctified, and be the sons of God, if they be born of each sacrament; since it is written, 'Except a man be born again of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'...[O]nly baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God, may be born of both sacraments, because it is written, 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'" Cyprian, To Stephen, 71:72 (A.D. 253).

"And in the Gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with His divine voice, saying, "Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." This is the Spirit which from the beginning was borne over the waters; for neither can the Spirit operate without the water, nor the water without the Spirit...Unless therefore they receive saving baptism in the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ." Council of Carthage VII (A.D. 258).

"'But you will perhaps say, What does the, baptism of water contribute towards the worship of God? In the first place, because that which hath pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because, when yon are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so at length you shall be able to attain salvation; hut otherwise it is impossible. For thus hath the true prophet testified to its with an oath: 'Verily I say to you, That unless a man is born again of water, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore make haste; for there is in these waters a certain power of mercy which was borne upon them at the beginning, and acknowledges those who are baptized under the name of the threefold sacrament, and rescues them from future punishments, presenting as a gift to God the souls that are consecrated by baptism. Betake yourselves therefore to these waters, for they alone can quench the violence of the future fire; and he who delays to approach to them, it is evident that the idol of unbelief remains in him, and by it be is prevented from hastening to the waters which confer salvation. For whether you be righteous or unrighteous, baptism is necessary for you in every respect: for the righteous, that perfection may be accomplished in him, and he may be born again to God; for the unrighteous, that pardon may he vouchsafed him of the sins which he has committed in ignorance. Therefore all should hasten to be born again to God without delay, because the end of every one's life is uncertain." Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 5:19 (A.D. 310).

"We are circumcised not with a fleshly circumcision but with the circumcision of Christ, that is, we are born again into a new man; for, being buried with Him in His baptism, we must die to the old man, because the regeneration of baptism has the force of resurrection." Hilary of Poitiers, Trinity, 9:9 (A.D. 359).

"And with reason; for as we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all quickened." Athanasius, Discourse Against the Arians, III:33 (A.D. 360).

"The baptized when they come up are sanctified;--the sealed when they go down are pardoned.---They who come up have put on glory;--they who go down have cast off sin." Ephraim Syrus, Hymns for the Feast of the Epiphany, 6:9 (ante A.D. 373).

"And in what way are we saved? Plainly because we were regenerate through the grace given in our baptism." Basil, On the Spirit, 10:26 (A.D. 375).

"This then is what it is to be born again of water and of the Spirit, the being made dead being effected in the water, while our life is wrought in us through the Spirit. In three immersions, then, and with three invocations, the great mystery of baptism is performed, to the end that the type of death may be fully figured, and that by the tradition of the divine knowledge the baptized may have their souls enlightened. It follows that if there is any grace in the water, it is not of the nature of the water, but of the presence of the Spirit." Basil, On the Spirit, 15:35 (A.D. 375).

"[T]he birth by water and the Spirit, Himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by His own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things He became the first-born of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to His own by water and the Spirit." Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, 2:8 (A.D. 382).

"For if no one can enter into the kingdom of Heaven except he be regenerate through water and the Spirit, and he who does not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink His blood is excluded from eternal life, and if all these things are accomplished only by means of those holy hands, I mean the hands of the priest, how will any one, without these, be able to escape the fire of hell, or to win those crowns which are reserved for the victorious? These verily are they who are entrusted with the pangs of spiritual travail and the birth which comes through baptism: by their means we put on Christ, and are buried with the Son of God, and become members of that blessed Head." John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood, 3:5-6 (A.D. 387).

"The Word recognizes three Births for us; namely, the natural birth, that of Baptism, and that of the Resurrection...” Gregory of Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism, I (A.D. 388).

"And that the writer was speaking of baptism is evident from the very words in which it is stated that it is impossible to renew unto repentance those who were fallen, inasmuch as we are renewed by means of the laver of baptism, whereby we are born again, as Paul says himself: 'For we are buried with Him through baptism into death, that, like as Christ rose from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we, too, should walk in newness of life.'" Ambrose, Concerning Repentance, 2:8 (A.D. 390).

"Therefore read that the three witnesses in baptism, the water, the blood, and the Spirit, are one, for if you take away one of these, the Sacrament of Baptism does not exist. For what is water without the cross of Christ? A common element, without any sacramental effect. Nor, again, is there the Sacrament of Regeneration without water: 'For except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'" Ambrose, On the Mysteries, 4:20 (A.D. 391).

"Baptism, then, is a purification from sins, a remission of trespasses, a cause of renovation and regeneration...Let us however, if it seems well, persevere in enquiring more fully and more minutely concerning Baptism, starting, as from the fountain-head, from the Scriptural declaration, 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Why are both named, and why is not the Spirit alone accounted sufficient for the completion of Baptism? Man, as we know full well, is compound, not simple: and therefore the cognate and similar medicines are assigned for healing to him who is twofold and conglomerate:--for his visible body, water, the sensible element,--for his soul, which we cannot see, the Spirit invisible, invoked by faith, present unspeakably. For 'the Spirit breathes where He wills, and thou hearest His voice, but canst not tell whence He cometh or whither He goeth.' He blesses the body that is baptized, and the water that baptizes. Despise not, therefore, the Divine laver, nor think lightly of it, as a common thing, on account of the use of water. For the power that operates is mighty, and wonderful are the things that are wrought thereby.” Gregory of Nyssa, On the Baptism of Christ (ante A.D. 394).

"Time would fail me were I to try to lay before you in order all the passages in the Holy Scriptures which relate to the efficacy of baptism or to explain the mysterious doctrine of that second birth which though it is our second is yet our first in Christ." Jerome, To Oceanus, 69:7 (A.D. 397).

"Be ye likewise contented with one baptism alone, that which is into the death of the Lord...For the Lord says: 'Except a man be baptized of water and of the Spirit, he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven.' And again: 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.'" Apostolic Constitutions, 6:3:15 (A.D. 400).

"Weep for the unbelievers; weep for those who differ in nowise from them, those who depart hence without the illumination [baptism], without the seal! They indeed deserve our wailing, they deserve our groans; they are outside the Palace, with the culprits, with the condemned: for, 'Verily I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.' Mourn for those who have died in wealth, and did not from their wealth think of any solace for their soul, who had power to wash away their sins and would not." John Chrysostom, Homily on Philippians, 3:24 (A.D. 404).

"It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated through the agency of another's will when that infant is brought to Baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn...'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit.' The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was in one Adam." Augustine, To Boniface, Epistle 98:2 (A.D. 408).

"But the sacrament of baptism is undoubtedly the sacrament of regeneration: Wherefore, as the man who has never lived cannot die, and he who has never died cannot rise again, so he who has never been born cannot be born again. From which the conclusion arises, that no one who has not been born could possibly have been born again in his father. Born again, however, a man must be, after he has been born; because, 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God' Even an infant, therefore, must be imbued with the sacrament of regeneration, lest without it his would be an unhappy exit out of this life; and this baptism is not administered except for the remission of sins. And so much does Christ show us in this very passage; for when asked, How could such things be? He reminded His questioner of what Moses did when he lifted up the serpent. Inasmuch, then, as infants are by the sacrament of baptism conformed to the death of Christ, it must be admitted that they are also freed from the serpent's poisonous bite, unless we wilfully wander from the rule of the Christian faith. This bite, however, they did not receive in their own actual life, but in him on whom the wound was primarily inflicted." Augustine, On Forgiveness of sin and baptism, 43:27 (A.D. 412).

"No sooner do they rise from the baptismal font, and by being born again and incorporated into our Lord and Saviour." Jerome, Against the Pelagians, III:15 (A.D. 415).

"For whatever unbaptized persons die confessing Christ, this confession is of the same efficacy for the remission of sins as if they were washed in the sacred font of baptism. For He who said, 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,' made also an exception in their favor, in that other sentence where He no less absolutely said, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.'" Augustine, City of God, 13:7 (A.D. 419).

"Moreover, from the time when He said, 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven;' and again, 'He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it; ' no one becomes a member of Christ except it be either by baptism in Christ, or death for Christ." Augustine, On the Soul and its Origin, 1:10:9 (A.D. 419).

"One generation and another generation; the generation by which we are made the faithful, and are born again by baptism; the generation by which we shall rise again from the dead, and shall live with the Angels for ever." Augustine, Psalms,135:11 (A.D. 433).

"And each one is a partaker of this spiritual origin in regeneration; and to every one when he is re-born, the water of baptism is like the Virgin's womb; for the same Holy Spirit fills the font, Who filled the Virgin, that the sin, which that sacred conception overthrew, may be taken away by this mystical washing." Leo the Great (regn. A.D. 440-461), Sermon 24:3 (ante A.D. 461).

"From that time when the Saviour said to us: 'If any man is not born again from water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God', without the sacrament of baptism--apart from those who without baptism in the Catholic Church shed their blood for Christ--no one can receive the Kingdom of God or eternal life." Fulgentius, On Faith, 3 (A.D. 524).

"The baptism then into Christ means that believers are baptized into Him...And He laid on us the command to be born again of water and of the Spirit, through prayer and invocation, the Holy Spirit drawing nigh unto the water. For since man's nature is twofold, consisting of soul and body, He bestowed on us a twofold purification, of water and of the Spirit the Spirit renewing that part in us which is after His image and likeness, and the water by the grace of the Spirit cleansing the body from sin and delivering it from corruption, the water indeed expressing the image of death, but the Spirit affording the earnest of life." John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith, 9 (A.D. 743).


  Copyright 2001 - 2007 © by John Salza. All Rights Reserved.

21 posted on 10/30/2010 1:32:16 PM PDT by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

>>’Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit<<

Is this the water they are talking about?

John 7:37-38, “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

Or was it this water you say should baptize?

John 4: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

In many places we are told of the living water of God’s word. Born again through the water of God’s word.

Cutting and pasting from Catholic cannon is unnecessary as I have read many if not most of them. I still believe the misinterpretation of Scripture is rampant. Use Scripture to interpret Scripture not the cannons or catechism of some Church who typically use it only to control the masses to maintain their power.

22 posted on 10/30/2010 2:11:56 PM PDT by CynicalBear
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