Skip to comments.How ignoring two little words has devastated evangelization
Posted on 11/27/2012 12:34:52 PM PST by NYer
Just two little words in a carefully written text of the Second Vatican Council carry tremendous significance in terms of the emphasis that text was meant to convey. Two little words, so easily overlooked, add urgency to the task for evangelization, and usher in a reminder of why the task of the Church in announcing Jesus Christ is so critical.
What are these words? Simply these:
Perhaps you are less than amazed and wonder what they could have to do with evangelization, let alone urgency. These words occur in a critical text of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium # 16, which is often misunderstood to teach that just about everyone will be saved, baptized or not. Yet these two little words (“But often”) and the three sentences that follow set forth a critical interpretive key that is often wholly ignored by many who hold an expansive and universalist notion of salvation.
Let’s see the whole of Lumen Gentium 16 and see why these two words (which I bold in the text below) are so important:
Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues. But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohammedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Savior wills that all men be saved. Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”, the Church fosters the missions with care and attention. (LG # 16)
Clearly, the text expansively sets forth a case for God’s goodness and His desire to save all people. He will regard the good will of those who, through invincible ignorance, do not come to explicit confession of Jesus. And, presuming they are sincerely seeking God and striving to live according to the dictates of conscience, God can indeed save them.
But while such a scenario is certainly possible, we ought not presume it is widespread, or even necessarily common. And, the Lumen Gentium text does NOT in fact presume that.
And this is where our two little words are critical. For having set forth the possibility of salvation apart from explicit confession of Jesus and baptism, the text then states with proper and biblical sobriety:
BUT OFTEN men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.
The majority of this sentence is a direct quote from St. Paul to the Romans who speaks more fully of the problem of human sinfulness and rebellion and how it leads many to reject God. Paul speaks of:
…the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world Gods invisible qualitieshis eternal power and divine naturehave been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans 1:18-23)
“Often” lacking! With this Romans text in mind, Lumen Gentium, while acknowledging Gods goodness and desire to save all, states that, “often” the necessary ingredients for this anonymous Christianity, or implicit baptism of desire, are lacking. Thus the Council goes on to urge and exhort: Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”, the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.
Sadly these two little words “but often” are brushed aside by many, if not most today who hold an opinion that almost everyone will be saved and go to heaven. Never mind that this view is almost wholly opposed to massive Biblical evidence, most of it right from the mouth of Jesus Christ, who rather consistently and vividly teaches that salvation is more difficult that most of us moderns assume, going so far as to say that “many” are lost and “few” are saved (e.g. Matt 7:14).
Of course all of this non-biblical thinking and misunderstanding of Lumen Gentium has devastated evangelization, both at the worldwide level, and even more so in the home and family. Most are very blase’ about urging the faith on children, siblings and friends. Most are lukewarm in their own reception of the sacraments and the living of the faith.
I want to hand the conversation over to Ralph Martin at this point. For I am here summarizing a central point he makes in his important book: Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches. I have reviewed the book more thoroughly HERE.
Please read this book, it is absolutely essential reading for every Catholic, especially clergy and parents.
In this brief video interview Ralph Martin sets forth the basic points of his book, and among the points he mentions are those two critical words “But often.”
The strait and narrow path of the new evangelization
Faith comes from God and NOT at the urging of anyone. To be saved one once say with their mouth AND BELIEVE in their heart Jesus is Lord.
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
Don't discount what the Holy Spirit does in an 'individual's' life.
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
...also goes on to say (v. 14-15):
"How, then, can they call on
the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in
the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear
without someone preaching to them?
And how can anyone preach
unless they are sent?
As it is written:
'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"
Yes, the Holy Spirit can enlighten whom He will: but faith DOES come from preaching: the preaching of those who are sent.
Vatican II is an unmitigated disaster; solving a problem that did not exist. As in politics, LIBs stepped into the crack and and destroyed the Church from within.
To even hint that Mohammedans worship the same God as Christians is an abomination. Mohammedism is NOT a religion; it is a cult of hate, founded by a goat-humping pedophile.
It’s one thing to aver one’s faith; it is quite a different issue to practice it. This article discuses an issue dealing with terminology from the Second Vatican Council, not specifically the manner in which one professes their faith in Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit DOES enlighten EVERYONE - some refuse it. God is no respector of persons. He died for All and some received HIM not! Faith comes from HEARING and OBEYING. Go forth and make disciples.
I wasn’t dealing with the whole article just one sentence in it. Also, no one can be pushed into practicing it; that would be a controlling spirit. It needs to come from one’s heart - then it’s legit.
The Mohammedans "profess to hold the faith of Abraham" -- they "say" i.e. "profess" to do this, but we don't believe they do
they say they adore the one and merciful God
They say they do, but again, we dn't believe them.... however, I acknowledge, the wording is wrong. It should be "The plan of salvation includes Moslems who give up their false worship of god who says he is the one god, but isn't"
That's the mohammedans
Ralph Martin is a mega-heretic, a champion of the charismatic apostacy. He and his ilk would deride cassocks, ballyhooed “dressed for success” “nuns” (out of habit).
He once said the “gospa” of Medjugorge was his “spiritual director”. This apparition is of the devil.
Any sentient adult who mentions Martin and doesn’t know these things about Martin and that most detestable movement is on the wide superhighway to perdition.
There is no “evangelization” if one is guiding souls into the heretical, apostate Vatican 2 sect.
Great article. The (rotten) thinking that we don’t need to evangelize that came out of this exact misrepresentation of Lumen Gentian is the root responsible for the closing of the churches in the Albany Diocese. It was determined by Hubbard and his ilk that there is no need to evangelize the inner city - just use social justice to address their material needs - no need to lovingly teach the Faith. Result - the beautiful inner city churches emptied and shut along with the schools ...
It was falsely determined that teaching and leading with the doctrine of Truth was unnecessary!! I hate Lumen Gentium and Vatican II for this reason. I am not a sedevacantist - and do understand that the nuances of the language used (such as the but ...) did not technically change the historic teaching that the Faith was to be spread - but the language was obscure and confusing - on purpose, I believe, and this is the result.