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Luther and Erasmus: The Controversy Concerning the Bondage of the Will
Protestant Reformed Theological Journal ^ | April 1999 | Garrett J. Eriks

Posted on 01/01/2006 4:48:03 PM PST by HarleyD

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Comment #4,401 Removed by Moderator

To: Kolokotronis; stripes1776
[+Gregory Palamas:] " ... as St. Paul said, 'He who cleaves to the Lord is one spirit with Him' (I Cor. 6:17) - are not united to God with respect to His essence, since all theologians testify that with respect to His essence God suffers no participation.

This is what I thought your position was, and I was only talking about the terminology used because, as Stripes notes very well in his follow-up post, it is difficult for us Protestants to wrap our arms around it. :)

[from your link:] "Since divinity and humanity are infinitely different, the latter cannot evolve into the former either. So theosis has nothing in common with the Mormon doctrine of Eternal Progression, that is, the belief that men can achieve "Godship". Human nature is not embryonic Divine Nature. Finite creatures cannot be transformed into Uncreated, Infinite Divinity." (emphasis added)

Thanks for the link, Kolo. This part is exactly what I was thinking of, that some people could miss the distinction in beliefs based on the terminology.

FK: "What did she [Mary] do to deserve credit?"

She said "Yes", FK.

I still don't understand this part. If Mary was free to say "No", then what would God have done if she did? If no one else had spent a sinless life, then no one else would have been worthy by the standards you use, right? In the way we experience time, would God have started from scratch and graced someone else? I don't see how it was even POSSIBLE for Mary to have said "No", which is why I have trouble giving her independent credit.

Thank you for the Hymn.

4,402 posted on 04/05/2006 12:17:32 PM PDT by Forest Keeper
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To: annalex; HarleyD; Forest Keeper; AlbionGirl; qua

Jesus asked that his mother be taken care of. If Mary were here today, I'd offer her a chair and some coffee.

But she's not my mother. Nor yours. The attention you show Mary would be put to better use by glorifying Jesus Christ, the only mediator who matters.


4,403 posted on 04/05/2006 12:53:42 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

This is your heretical spin on a very clear scripture.

Do you really imagine that Christ's next-to-last words before His death were an economic arrangement for His mother's coffee?


4,404 posted on 04/05/2006 12:56:49 PM PDT by annalex
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To: annalex

Yep. That's exactly what they were. I think He'd be appalled at the cult that's grown up around His simple request to watch out for mom.

I understand your reverence for Mary. She was blessed among women and deserving of our admiration.

But to take that respect and turn it into worship is blasphemous. I think your very soul is in jeopardy.


4,405 posted on 04/05/2006 1:01:28 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
That's exactly what they were

Says who?

4,406 posted on 04/05/2006 1:03:40 PM PDT by annalex
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To: annalex
Scripture, which clearly points towards your way of seeing things as blasphemous.

One God; One Christ; One Holy Spirit.

No more; no less.

"...we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one." -- 1 Corinthians 8

4,407 posted on 04/05/2006 1:26:07 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Veneration of Mary does not contradict monotheism. As you know.

By why did you bring this up anyway? De Sales slams Calvinism primarily in his Controversies, extracts of which are available online. Veneration of Our Lady has nothing to do with it, because Calvin's error is more fundamental than mere defective mariology.

4,408 posted on 04/05/2006 1:58:35 PM PDT by annalex
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To: jo kus; Dr. Eckleburg
[From New Advent:] Mortal sin is defined by St. Augustine ...

St. Augustine is NOT the official source of Catholic teaching. I don't know if you are taking him out of context or what.

WHAT??? LOL! I told you that I was quoting from New Advent, AND I gave you the direct link. Did I hack into the site? If St. Augustine was all wet about the nature of mortal sin, then why would New Advent LEAD with him in its explanation on the subject?

How exactly does that work? How do you "not choose" to persevere in the actions that you do?

It's easy. If I am of the elect, then I am capable of blowing it because I still have a remnant of sin, and most certainly use it, to my shame. Since God promises that He will lose none of His elect, the only way that will happen is if He takes it out of our hands. Otherwise, some or all would blow it. So, while in my human experience I "feel" like I'm choosing, it really isn't me at all, it is God doing His will through me.

So what is the difference between you and another Christian, all things equal, who both love God and claim eternal salvation - but then, ten years from now, you are still persevering and the other is not?

The difference is that the other one was never a Christian, and did not love God. To love God is to obey Him (persevere), right? Millions of people claim to be Christians and don't come close to obeying God. That's why I cannot say with certainty about the salvation of anyone else.

HOW on earth would that other Christian KNOW TODAY that he would fail in the future? Or you?

Now you're baiting me. :) I actually wrote down what you said from before so I wouldn't forget. :)

FK: "Yes, I do believe that the elect must have knowledge of Jesus and believe on Him."

Romans and 1 John disagree with that statement. So does Jesus Himself. Paul in Romans 2 says that even the pagan can follow the law the Christ wrote on their hearts (as Jeremiah prophesied). Thus, they are spiritually circumcised and are able to obey the Commandments, even though they don't have a copy of the Decalogue.

I was basing my statement in part on Peter in Acts 4:12: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." I thought you agreed that all of the elect are saved. If so, how does anyone go to heaven by following the Commandments?

1 John says that anyone who loves abides in Christ. Those who abide in Christ will be saved. And Jesus talks about judging the nations and separating the goats from the Sheep. Note that the principle guideline is not whether they know Christ, but whether they ACT like Christ - which can only come from God's Spirit Himself. (emphasis added)

So, a person does not have to know Christ, he just has to love .... some unknown thing .... and abide in .... some unknown thing, and this person is saved? You are telling me right here that salvation is based on ACTS, and in the same breath you'll tell me you do not believe in a works-based salvation? Can you see why some of us have a hard time following this? :)

Being elected for grace is not the same thing as being elected for glory.

There are now TWO categories of election? So every time I see the word "elect" in the Bible, I have to guess which one? Sometimes "the elect" means everyone, and sometimes it means those who are saved? What is the point of "electing" everyone for something anyway? Doesn't the word involve the concept of choice?

4,409 posted on 04/05/2006 2:03:04 PM PDT by Forest Keeper
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To: All

My God! Have your people really been beating this horse for forty-four hundred posts???


4,410 posted on 04/05/2006 3:09:45 PM PDT by infidel dog (nearer my God to thee....)
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To: infidel dog

Please don't call Luther horse. We do not stoop to such vituperation on this thread.


4,411 posted on 04/05/2006 4:35:53 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Here’s another situation, Dr. E, where I seem to be caught somewhere in the middle.

My affection for Our Lord’s Blessed Mother is pronounced, as it is for John the Baptist and Paul.

If I were able to sit down with Mary today, I would be in a certain manner, awed, as I would be if I had the chance to sit down with St. Paul or blessed John the Baptist. While all these people should be viewed strictly as human beings, they were Divinely selected, and that seems significant to me. They were part of God‘s plan of Salvation in a way that I was not. That isn‘t to say I think them intrinsically more worthy than other human beings, but that they have something to say that I need to listen to.

If I had a chance to offer Our Lord’s Mother a cup of coffee, which is an image I like, by the way, I’d be beside myself with questions concerning Her Son’s human side. I’d ask her if He was prone to be disinclined to certain personality types, did He tend to shy away from those who were verbose? Was He easily annoyed? What were His favorite foods? Did he like to sleep or was He prone to staying awake into the wee hours? Was His tendency to be melancholy or enthusiastic? What were His eyes like? In short, what were His human qualities that were so identifiable with hers?

One of my favorite scenes in The Passion of The Christ is the scene where He finished crafting the table that was a little higher than normally used at the time, and the dialogue between Him and her consists of Him trying to convince her that it’s the wave of the future, and her shaking her head in a loving manner, indicating that she thinks ‘it’ll never catch on.’

I don’t really think she’s a means of tipping the scales in a person’s favor, in terms of influencing God’s disposition towards that person. That seems to me to be an extra-Scriptural accretion.

As I mentioned before, kneeling before her statue always seemed unnatural to me, so I don’t know her the way most Catholics do. I rarely prayed the Rosary. When I did, I tired to pray it slowly, and to concentrate on the Mysteries associated with the decades. Probably one of the reasons I didn’t take praying the Rosary more seriously, is that every time I heard it prayed, people were rushing through it or monotonously mouthing the prayers. I couldn’t pray like that, and attain the succor, guidance and strength that I was searching for.

4,412 posted on 04/05/2006 6:56:05 PM PDT by AlbionGirl (God made the Gate so narrow. No man has the right to make it more narrow still.)
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To: annalex
Kosta, this has nearly nothing to do with the rest of the discussion, but no, you cannot [define any surface with a mathematical formula]

I disagree. Any surface can be expressed as a series of intervals (a separate function) relative to the previous one. The integrated sum of such functions carried to asigned limits becomes the expression for the entire surface.

It is either Christian faith or faith in the scientific method, or some combination of the two

I would say that one's belief in gravity is an entirely different kind of belief than the belief in God. I think you are comparing apples and organges. Very few people will disagree on anything having to do with gravity. Our "knowledge" of God, however, is subject of diverse opinions, sharp disagreements, numerous interpretations and, indeed, thousands of unrelated religions.

4,413 posted on 04/05/2006 7:50:22 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Kolokotronis; jo kus; kosta50; annalex; Agrarian; HarleyD; Dr. Eckleburg
Why do you think it would have been a bad thing if sin had never entered the world?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. :) I suppose I'll say that anything that is not God's will is bad. And, God gets everything that He wants because He is sovereign and omnipotent. Therefore, God must have ordained that sin enter the world. If sin had never entered the world, then the human experience would have been completely different. Most of the human qualities we pat ourselves on the back for, like striving to become better, or reaching for God, or having a chance to understand the greatness of God, would all be moot without sin, IMO. I theorize that Adam and Eve did not fully appreciate the greatness of God because they did not know sin until they did it. THEN, they understood. So, while evil and sin are of course bad, I can appreciate to some extent why God chose to order this planet as He did.

Man was the author of his own Fall by the exercise of the free will he possessed.

I agree with you with the addendum that God ordained it.

God has control of everything to the extent He chooses to use it.

Is this your way of saying that God allows things He would not author Himself, or does God sometimes relinquish control in favor of our free will to do good or evil?

If you read it [+Athanasius "On the Incarnation".], it becomes readily apparent why the Incarnation is the ultimate example of God's love for His creatures, but it is also apparent that but for our sin, the Incarnation would have been quite unnecessary and what the Incarnation does is return us to our original potential.

Thanks for the passage. I'm sure you linked me to the text, and I'm sure I looked at it, even if I didn't read the whole thing word for word. I agree with you that the Incarnation was the ultimate example of God's love. But I wonder whether the alternative of Adam and Eve never sinning would have really been better for mankind, partly for the reasons I gave above. Had they never sinned, then yes, the Incarnation would not have been necessary and we would not have experienced God's ultimate love. This is a tough one. :)

4,414 posted on 04/06/2006 12:32:03 AM PDT by Forest Keeper
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To: AlbionGirl
I enjoyed your post on Mary, although it wasn't addressed to me. I think a lot of people have the same questions you have regarding her. "Where does she fit in in my own personal spirituality?" As a Catholic, I am aware of the rich heritage of devotion to Mary - but it doesn't necessarily filter in to practice. Most of the saints swear by it, so it must be useful towards one's walk in Christ. Frankly, I wish my devotion was stronger to her.

I’d ask her if He was prone to be disinclined to certain personality types, did He tend to shy away from those who were verbose? Was He easily annoyed? What were His favorite foods? Did he like to sleep or was He prone to staying awake into the wee hours? Was His tendency to be melancholy or enthusiastic? What were His eyes like? In short, what were His human qualities that were so identifiable with hers?

It sounds like you are well on your way to successfully walking the ways of Christ's greatest disciple. I think the questions you ask are the same types that the Apostles had to ask her! I imagine she was plied with hundreds of questions in the Upper Room before the Holy Spirit came upon them during Pentecost. Being the mother of God, she must have been very highly regarded while alive. Yet, her humility (much like her spouse's, the Holy Spirit) keeps her largely as a side charecter in the narratives of the Gospel. There is a lot of fruitful meditation that can be had on the subject of their humility.

One of my favorite scenes in The Passion of The Christ is the scene where He finished crafting the table that was a little higher than normally used at the time, and the dialogue between Him and her consists of Him trying to convince her that it’s the wave of the future, and her shaking her head in a loving manner, indicating that she thinks ‘it’ll never catch on.’

I enjoyed that scene, too! I also liked the scene where Christ was tied up in the basement, reaching up to the ceiling, while Mary was on the floor of the next level, sensing her Son below her. I cannot begin to imagine the suffering she underwent, seeing all of the good her Son did and watching the religious institution slowly kill Him right before her eyes. "A sword shall also pierce your heart" was certainly a prophesy pointing to this pain.

I rarely prayed the Rosary. When I did, I tired to pray it slowly, and to concentrate on the Mysteries associated with the decades. Probably one of the reasons I didn’t take praying the Rosary more seriously, is that every time I heard it prayed, people were rushing through it or monotonously mouthing the prayers.

There are many forms of prayer. For many people, the rosary is truly an effective tool in meditating on Christ. If it seems to work for you, you should continue to use it, despite what some Catholics practice. I prefer the Psalms, but I have found the rosary effective at times. If you feel close to Mary because you share an affinity for her Son, then there is nothing wrong with praying with her to our Lord. I can't imagine Jesus being unhappy with someone who loves His mother.

Regards

4,415 posted on 04/06/2006 6:01:47 AM PDT by jo kus (Stand fast in the liberty of Christ...Do not be entangled AGAIN with a yoke of bondage... Gal 5:1b)
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To: jo kus
"Yet, her humility (much like her spouse's, the Holy Spirit) keeps her largely as a side character in the narratives of the Gospel. There is a lot of fruitful meditation that can be had on the subject of their humility."

Nicely put, and I couldn't agree more!

"I cannot begin to imagine the suffering she underwent, seeing all of the good her Son did and watching the religious institution slowly kill Him right before her eyes. "A sword shall also pierce your heart" was certainly a prophesy pointing to this pain."

When I was a kid, it was the practice to cover the Crucifix and all the statues with a silken, purple cloth. I can't remember if that occurred one or two weeks before Easter Sunday, but it had a very powerful effect on me.

As Lent drew to a close and we began to concentrate more on the narratives of His Passion, an enormous desire to punish the Romans who had so abused Him, welled up inside of me in a very intense and vivid way. I never had to be coaxed, in any way, in to loving Christ. He was my Protector and my insuperable Hero from the very beginning. You'll have to forgive the quality of my reflections, should they seem jejune to you. My love for Christ was formed in this way.

Jo kus, when I was 20 years old, I lost my youngest brother. His name was Patrick, he was 7 years old, and he was hit and killed by his school bus about 25 yards or so from our house. He was born on March 23, 1969, so he would have turned 37 years old, a few weeks past, had he lived.

His little friends came running up the driveway, yelling 'Patrick's been hit by the bus', and when my Mom and I ran to him, she dropped to her knees to attend to him, and felt the life draining from his little arms. I'm often reminded of Our Lord's Blessed Mother, when that scene replays itself in my thoughts. He was a sweet boy who was wounded easily, and loved his sister a lot and wasn't shy about showing it.

I tell you this, not to gain your empathy, but to remember him, and all who have passed from this world, especially at this moment, because Easter Sunday draws nigh.

4,416 posted on 04/06/2006 6:57:24 AM PDT by AlbionGirl (God made the Gate so narrow. No man has the right to make it more narrow still.)
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To: kosta50
A collection of local-domain functions is not the same as a single function, although indeed that set is not enumerable. But then the number of independent integrations you need is also not enumerable.

few people will disagree on anything having to do with gravity

Only because we have a single science taught in schools, so that people do not disagree on the elementary Newtonian level taught in school. Once advance physics are contemplated on a post graduate level, people do disagree. As to religion, members of the same religious community do not disagree either; the difference is simply that for historical reasons we do not have unified theology taught in school. Christians, outside of seminaries, understand religion pretty poorly, just like pre-Newton men understood gravity poorly.

Besides, I am talking not of belief in gravity but belief in the scientific method. I agree that once you believe in the scientific method, there is little serious argument about gravity; just like if you believe in God there is little argument about the afterlife.

4,417 posted on 04/06/2006 7:44:31 AM PDT by annalex
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To: AlbionGirl
When I was a kid, it was the practice to cover the Crucifix and all the statues with a silken, purple cloth. I can't remember if that occurred one or two weeks before Easter Sunday, but it had a very powerful effect on me.

Yes, we still do that, the 5th week of Lent, which would be last Sunday. When we are aware of all of these symbols, they help us so much in experiencing our Lord and Savior. Christ is not just an intellectual notion, but a God who we experience. Symbols most strongly brings to mind and heart that experience.

He was a sweet boy who was wounded easily, and loved his sister a lot and wasn't shy about showing it. I tell you this, not to gain your empathy, but to remember him, and all who have passed from this world, especially at this moment, because Easter Sunday draws nigh.

Thank you for sharing that very difficult experience with me. It helps me to understand why you have a certain empathy towards Mary and her own sufferings of seeing her Son die. I can't imagine seeing someone close to me die in that matter. It is something one must experience, no doubt. Perhaps that might be why my devotion to her is not very strong - I haven't experienced anything like she did, so it is harder for me to appreciate that awful suffering and agony of seeing her beloved Son die. Yours is certainly a strong experience of God's love in the midst of pain and suffering.

Regards

4,418 posted on 04/06/2006 8:43:40 AM PDT by jo kus (Stand fast in the liberty of Christ...Do not be entangled AGAIN with a yoke of bondage... Gal 5:1b)
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To: annalex
But then the number of independent integrations you need is also not enumerable

Just as our ability to express or conceive of the the Divine is. Theoretical concepts must be tailored to the realities of life -- let's face it, we are limited in everything we do, know or say -- and I would say, believe.

Once advance physics are contemplated on a post graduate level, people do disagree

Because it becomes more intellectual and not readily verifiable; you go from a working model to a theoretical construct, informed speculation, an educated "guess."

Besides, I am talking not of belief in gravity but belief in the scientific method

That's apples and oranges. People recognized that things fall on earth. One does not need scientific method to come to that conclusion. To this day we have no clue why gravity exists. It is an "invisible force" that is made evident by falling objects, water flowing downhill, etc. We know that it is related to mass and that it is an integral "property" of mass.

We don't need Scripture to believe in God. Our belief without them may be somewhat "deficient" but we recognize that we live in a physical world, a universe. We recognize that nothing in it is the way we would have built or designed. We recognize that it is "limitless" from our perspective and we recognize that (1) either nature existed eternally or (2) something that existed before nature did, probably eternally, created it. This is not theology (or religious scientific method) but simple facts which we all believe because we see them. As they say, "seeing is believing."

I guarantee you that it would be easier to claim Christian teaching if there was a preponderance of historical and other kind of evidence of the story of both Testaments.

What we do know is that +Ignatius was ordained bishop by +Paul, and +Polycarp by +John. They were real people because we have evidence of their existence. Therefore, the two Apostles in question existed, and since the teachings of the aforementioned bishops agreed with those, and used the teachings of, the Apostles as true -- first hand -- we have every reason to believe that their faith was the same faith we proclaim today.

Where certitude begins to break down is when we start making claims such as "multitudes" following Christ and no one making a single note of it. There is no historical evidence of the massacre Herod allegedly ordered in order to kill baby Jesus. Surely, someone like Josephus would have mentioned something about it -- after all, Josephus went into extraordinary detail of Herod's life. But there is no mention of anywhere (which doesn't mean it didn't happen, only that we have not found it yet).

Believing in God and in gravity are two distinct and incomparable processes. As for the scientific process, a belief in it is never absolute.

4,419 posted on 04/06/2006 9:31:56 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; HarleyD; AlbionGirl; qua
If sin had never entered the world, then the human experience would have been completely different. Most of the human qualities we pat ourselves on the back for, like striving to become better, or reaching for God, or having a chance to understand the greatness of God, would all be moot without sin, IMO. I theorize that Adam and Eve did not fully appreciate the greatness of God because they did not know sin until they did it. THEN, they understood...But I wonder whether the alternative of Adam and Eve never sinning would have really been better for mankind, partly for the reasons I gave above. Had they never sinned, then yes, the Incarnation would not have been necessary and we would not have experienced God's ultimate love. This is a tough one. :)

A tough one, for sure, but you've answered it beautifully. Life for the creature is as the Creator determined it for the creature -- all for His divine glory alone. Our salvation declares His might, His goodness, His sovereignty.

As Warfield wrote...

THE THEOLOGY OF JOHN CALVIN

"...Calvinism however, is not merely a soteriology. Deep as its interest is in salvation, it cannot escape the question--"Why should God thus intervene in the lives of sinners to rescue them from the consequences of their sin?" And it cannot miss the answer--"Because it is to the praise of the glory of His grace." Thus it cannot pause until it places the scheme of salvation itself in relation with a complete world-view in which it becomes subsidiary to the glory of the Lord God Almighty. If all things are from God, so to Calvinism all things are also unto God, and to it God will be all in all. It is born of the reflection in the heart of man of the glory of a God who will not give His honour to another, and draws its life from constant gaze upon this great image. And let us not fail punctually to note, that "it is the only system in which the whole order of the world is thus brought into a rational unity with the doctrine of grace, and in which the glorification of God is carried out with absolute completeness."

4,420 posted on 04/06/2006 10:01:03 AM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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