Skip to comments.Pope says uniting Christianity requires conversion
Posted on 01/18/2012 3:19:15 PM PST by NYer
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Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered them, You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
Jeremiah 23:29 "Is not My word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
"For the Word of God is ALIVE and ACTIVE, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart."
"The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them" -- Proverbs 20:12
Well said, dear Alamo-girl! God STILL speaks to us through his word and we hear it with Spirit-tuned ears and heart.
Good morning AG.
I appreciate your thoughts on this, but I think that since you have not been in on this discussion, you may be misunderstanding the points being made by me.
I do not oppose reading Scripture, obviously I find it to be one of the best things a follower of Christ can do to better know Him and to better follow Him.
The point is that neither Scripture nor Jesus ever says that one MUST read Scripture in order to have faith or as a sign of one’s faith.
Scripture is a great gift, but there are many who cannot read it, yet they have great faith.
Please do not make the mistake of thinking that I do not advocate reading Scripture. Unless you have gone back and read ALL the posts that have led us here, you don’t have the whole picture of the discussion.
And, please do not let others here who love to misconstrue and mischaracterize what I have written lead you to believe that I disdain the reading of Scripture or do not think it is a profound and holy activity.
No one has mentioned your views to me nor have I read the discussion leading up to that question.
Thank you, AG, hope you are feeling better.
I do so appreciate your always gracious contributions.
I agree that without the Spirit, one can read and/or hear Scripture and not know Jesus the Christ.
I’m sorry if it seemed I was annoyed by your post, I wasn’t.
I just wanted to make my position clear since you obviously had not read all that led up to the question to which you responded.
Always a pleasure:)
It seems to me that the whole point is being missed in this controversy.
It's not which is more important whther it's the reading of hearing. What counts is it being the wrod of God, no matter what the mode of entry into the mind.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
It looks like all the emphasis is on the wrong thing, how it gets into the heart and mind, and not on what IS the important thing, WHAT (the Word) is getting into the heart and mind.
Ephesians 5:25-27 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Missing the point?
Maybe you need to go back a reread what led us here.
It was never a question of how one hears the Word.
You asserted that you would question the faith, and therefore the salvation of one who did not read Scripture.
Have you forgotten that?
This passage underscores the point for me:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. - I Cor 2:6-16
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? - Matthew 16:23-26
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42
Every word that comes from the mouth of God; God-breathed, Holy Spirit inspired Scripture.
If some one comes to Christ through any religion, it's because they heard Scripture through that religion.
People come to God in spite of religion, not because of it, when they hear or read the Wrod of God. That's where the power is.
Which again bring us to the crux of the discussion.
There are faithful people who do not regularly read Scripture on their own, for whatever reasons they may have.
I asked if Jesus or the Apostles ever said that one must read Scripture.
I agree that reading Scripture is a valuable endeavor for those who can, but it is not a requirement of faith.
The discussion came about because metmom said that a person of faith must read Scripture or their faith was suspect and therefore, their salvation could be in doubt.
I challenged her to show how that assertion was in line with “faith alone” as reading Scripture is an action or a “work” if you will, and to show where believers are told they must read Scripture.
Now, we hear from her that how one receives the Word of God is not important, which is total reversal of her earlier statement.
The WORD from the mouth of God; God breathed, Holy Spirit inspired Scripture.
If anyone finds Christ in religion, it's BECAUSE of the Scripture they hear there. It's in spite of the religion not because of it.
An ill motive does not diminish the power of His words:
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. - Phl 1:15-18
And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. - John 11:49-52
The elderly, for instance, may have lost much or all of their vision. But the faithful, Christian elderly will still meditate on His words.
Does he need a copy of the Bible or a newer translation or bigger print? If so he should ask because surely someone will give him one if he cannot afford to buy his own.
Has his life become dominated by cares of the world? If so he should pray about. If he can find time to groom himself surely he can find time to read God's words. After all, God's words are the "needful part."
God's Name is I AM.
****But a healthy literate Christian should examine himself if he has lost interest in the words of God, i.e. why has this happened? ****
This is jumping to a conclusion. Why does it mean one has lost interest in the words of God if one does not daily read Scripture?
Again, that is my point. By saying that one must read Scripture to be a faithful Christian, one is placing a requirement on them that neither Jesus nor the Apostles did.
Thankfully one may know and love God and follow Jesus just by hearing the word proclaimed and meditating on what one has heard, through prayer and other devotionals. I personally love hymns which are Scripture in song.
I also enjoy reading reflections on Scripture. I love Mass and all the Scripture in the readings and prayers.
Scripture is just one of the ways I receive the word of God, but it’s not the only way.
I don’t believe it is anyone’s place to judge another Christian’s faith based on how much they read Scripture.
Remember the Parable of the Sower:
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth [it] not, then cometh the wicked [one], and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. - Matthew 13:18-23
God's Name is I AM.
Again, that is putting works in a wrong perspective.
Catholic thinking tends to think that adding works to faith changes the faith.
What it being said is not that one has to *add* certain things to be a faithful Christian, but rather that a faithful Christian will do those things and that if they don't, it requires some soul searching.
Adding works with wrong heart attitude is a waste of time. You might as well not bother. Get the heart right and the works WILL follow as naturally as breathing.
Consider a lack of interest in Scripture as a symptom of something wrong with the heart.
A faithful Christian WANTS to know his Lord better and reading the written word is about the best way to do it.
God can be known in a general sense through general revelation, but He gave us special revelation in the form of the written word, called Scripture, for us to know Him better, to know things about Him that we couldn't deduce any other way or could know unless He told us.
Thank you for sharing your insights, dear sister in Christ!
You still miss the point and assume that one who is does not READ Scripture has no interest in God’s Word.
Scripture does not say that individuals must READ Scripture to know God’s Word. The very verses you have posted all say HEAR, RECEIVE, not read.
Some prefer to listen to the word preached either in Mass, through music, by listening to it on TV or CD, or reading daily reflections and through prayer.
Reading Scripture does not equate to knowing Jesus, He said as much to the pharisees who were very well versed in Scripture and yet did not KNOW Him.
Your parable of the sower is not about receiving the Word, it is about the heart of the receiver and what one does upon hearing the word. It is about letting the Word grow within you. In this case, the Word is Jesus and His love and good news.
Again, you try to wiggle out of what YOU said, which is that in your opinion, if one does not read Scripture one’s faith is suspect and their salvation in doubt.
In effect, this is saying that one’s faith is revealed and even measured by one’s actions, IOW, deeds or works.
Jesus said “By their fruits, you will know them.” What are fruits? Are they not the results of the things the faithful do, in faith, out of love of Jesus and each other?
According to some of your compatriots, hearing a recording of it doesn’t do any good either.
Will you guys make up your minds?
Otherwise you’re working on your own personal interpretation of Catholicism. Or Scripture.
I said that? Where? Provide the link to that statement or quote please......
Is that a problem for you?
Jesus said By their fruits, you will know them. What are fruits? Are they not the results of the things the faithful do, in faith, out of love of Jesus and each other?
Do you know what the fruit of the Spirit is?
I have no idea what this post means.
Maybe you could explain it.
You lay out what faith means to you and how one’s faith is evident in their actions and behavior.
You say that if one is not interested in reading Scripture, then you would question their faith and thus their salvation.
It’s the protestant way. On the one hand speaking of the actions of the believer, then claiming that if one does not exhibit these actions and behaviors, then one’s profession of faith is suspect. As you said....that person was never born again regardless of what they claim.
I know, it’s a conundrum for you since a protestant believes once saved, always saved. Therefore, in order to maintain that false belief, they must claim that one was never saved to explain away falling back into or never leaving behind their “old nature”.
The real knee slapper is where you say that living out the Christian life is not a requirement of being saved.
The NT is full of how to live the Christian life and yet, you claim that it is not a requirement. Why do we need to read Scripture then?
Contradiction after contradiction followed by back pedaling.
We keep going round in circles.
Salvation comes from faith and true faith is revealed through our actions and behaviors. It’s no problem for me, that is what the Church teaches.
Yes, I know the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
The ones Jesus is addressing below physically heard His words (sound or pressure waves) but they could not spiritually hear Him:
Give us this day our daily bread. Matt 6:11
I am that bread of life. John 6:48
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life. John 6:63
In my experience the culprit is usually weeds (in reference to the parable.) The cares of this mortal life have captured his attention. If so, he may be able to get rid of whatever is distracting him or perhaps take a hiatus from his daily routine to get on his knees before God and get his priorities straight.
Or it could be some commandment has turned him off, e.g. no adultery - and he needs to reassess who God IS and get on his knees before God and confess and repent.
God's Name is I AM.
1119: mm: "There WILL be evidence or the profession of faith is highly suspect."
I stand by that and the rest of that post as with post 1141.
However, you keep repeating the claim that "You say that if one is not interested in reading Scripture, then you would question their faith and thus their salvation." but earlier you said....post 1327 -"Again, you try to wiggle out of what YOU said, which is that in your opinion, if one does not read Scripture ones faith is suspect and their salvation in doubt."
And I asked where I said that and you still haven't provided the link or post number. In the one post you referenced, interest in Scripture was just one of the evidences I listed.
Its the protestant way. On the one hand speaking of the actions of the believer, then claiming that if one does not exhibit these actions and behaviors, then ones profession of faith is suspect. As you said....that person was never born again regardless of what they claim.
And that's different from Catholicism how?
My statement is that if someone has true saving faith, it will show by their fruits and works, that there will be evidence. If there is ZERO evidence, absolutely no change in their lives after a verbal profession of faith, yes, I do wonder if they are saved or have saving faith because saving faith WILL produce results.
And for the record, I know people who profess to have accepted Christ and have shown ZERO evidence of any kind of faith. Are they really saved? Only God knows.
And just to forestall the inevitable, these are immediate family members whom I know WELL, so I'd KNOW if there was any evidence and I've never seen any.
For my part, I have no reason to consider them saved and so continue to pray for them and share Christ with them as if they are not. But my doing that doesn't make them any more or less saved than they in reality are.
If they are saved, then I've misjudged. Big deal.
I know, its a conundrum for you since a protestant believes once saved, always saved. Therefore, in order to maintain that false belief, they must claim that one was never saved to explain away falling back into or never leaving behind their old nature.
No, I'm not talking about backsliding or falling back into sin, or not being perfect from the moment of profession on. We all struggle with our old nature and we all still sin.
The tremendous irony in all this criticism of *Protestant thinking* is that Catholicism teaches the exact thing that I'm being criticized for. That is, if you don't tow the line, you lost your salvation, making it a works based religious system.
The real knee slapper is where you say that living out the Christian life is not a requirement of being saved.
But it's not. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. If living out the Christian life is a *requirement* to be saved, then for one thing, nobody is saved as nobody can live the life they ought to. The other is that this is exactly what the Catholic church teaches.
I'll spell it out once again......
Saving faith is evidenced by a changed life. If there is NO change at all, there is no legitimate reason for anyone to conclude that saving faith has been exercised. The person is likely not saved, but my opinion on that is not necessarily their reality. My opinion doesn't make it so. It's what God thinks and knows that's important.
True saving faith WILL BE evidenced by la change of heart and life. When you have been given a new heart and a new nature and the Spirit of God is living within you, there WILL be change and growth, just as a baby grows once it's born. It just happens. It's a natural result of the new life within you.
If someone displays a lack of interest in Scripture and knowing God through that, that person has problems. I never said that it doesn't mean that they're not saved or that they lost their salvation, all it means is that they have problems and those need to be addressed. It's a symptom, a warning sign that something is not right spiritually in their spiritual lives.
There is no contradiction.
It actually might shock you how little evidence of a changed life it takes for me to accept that saving faith has been exercised. We are all different and God meets us where we are and we all are at different points in our walk with Him and I'm not going to judge the validity of a person's profession because they aren't doing what I think they ought when I think they ought to be doing it.
The only time I would question the validity of a person's profession is when there is ZERO evidence of a changed life.
It's what Scripture teaches. Chalk one up for the church getting it right this time.
Alamo-girl said nothing anywhere near that. Go back and re-read the last sentence of her post.
If you're going to accuse someone of something, could you at least be more accurate?
I have always found it interesting that people who say they love Jesus but dont seem to have an interest in spending time learning more about Him or spending time with Him and His people. Watching what people spend money on, time on and effort to get involved in tells me where their love is. When people first fall in love it becomes obvious because they talk about, spend time with, think about, and most of their lives are concentrated on that person. Everyone seems to understand that but cant understand that when one claims they love Christ that same intense attraction wouldnt be evident.
If a persons mate never wants to spend time with them but consistently spends time with others or some other interest they would quickly feel that the love isnt there. I would challenge any wife to tell me that if her husband makes excuses why he cant spend time with her but constantly makes extra effort to spend time with some other woman who the man cares for more. Would she confidently proclaim that her husband still loves her or would she expect some change in actions if he really did? I can assure you that her friends would know who her husband cares more about.
Would those same people claim you cant tell if someone really loves Jesus?
Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 8:15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Even Jesus says that actions follow faith.
Yours is an excellent analogy. Lots of people want fire insurance and pay lip service to faith in Christ, yet another way of taking the Lord's name in vain.
I find it exceedingly ironic that the same Catholics who melt down about being judged by Scriptural standards turn around and judge by RCC standards. You and I and many others have been called heretics simply for not following Catholic church teaching, and yet it's not because we're not following Christ.
Thank you so very much for sharing your insights, dear sister in Christ!
And thank you, dear sister in Christ, for those beautiful Scriptures!
I have read your posts.
The initial discussion was whether or not one MUST read Scripture and again, and again I have pointed out that nowhere in Scripture does Jesus or the Apostles say one must read Scripture.
You agreed that one could receive the Word of God in ways other than reading. But, then you jumped to the conclusion that one who does not read Scripture must have lost interest in it.
I disputed that and said that not everyone reads Scripture. Some receive it in other ways i.e. through hymns, or daily reflections or prayers.
You reiterated again about losing interest in Scripture.
And again, I disputed your conclusion.
And now for a third time you repeat it.
Reading Scripture is not for everyone. Some would rather spend their time in prayer or read reflections on it. It does not mean they have no interest, it means they prefer something different. It doesn’t make them any less concerned or interested in knowing God and knowing Jesus.
"STUDY to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the WORD OF TRUTH." (2 Tim.2:15).
Hymns, daily reflections, or prayers are good. But without studying God's Word, the Bible, you just may be an ashamed workman one day. God says that. Not me.
I will deal with all of your post later, but I must ask....
What is the purpose of pinging all those on your list?
The topic was whether or not one MUST read Scripture.
Alamo-Girl offered her opinion on the topic and said that if one has no interest in God’s word, then that is a problem.
I responded that not everyone receives God’s word by reading Scripture and she agreed that one can receive God’s word in ways other than reading it. But, she felt the need to speak again about one having no interest in God’s word.
What else am I supposed to think?
Interest in God’s word was not part of the discussion, it was whether or not one MUST read Scripture to receive and know God’s word.
Study is now a synonym for reading?
I know faithful people who attend Mass every day of their lives. They hear Scripture, not just in the readings, but in all the prayers and hymns. That is how they choose to study God’s word.
Jumping to the same conclusions does not mean the conclusion is valid.
Many good and faithful people find God and Jesus in ways other than reading Scripture. There are numerous other ways they do so that I posted about earlier.
Some get out and live the gospel, some sit in their homes and parse it online with strangers.
I, too know faithful people who are at the church doors every morning, waiting for them to be opened so they can be in "God's presence". Guess what? Without accepting Christ's finished work for their salvation, they are doing nothing more than DOING THINGS. It's all for nothing. Mass, prayers, hymns, rosaries, fastings, suffering, are meaningless. Because on the other side of the weight is Christ's finished work on Calvary. Awaiting anyone who will just accept it instead of their own works for righteousness.
I included my own posts so as to show the progression of the discussion, though post 1104 should have been 1102.
*****And I asked where I said that and you still haven’t provided the link or post number. In the one post you referenced, interest in Scripture was just one of the evidences I listed. *****
*****If someone does not have a desire to read God’s word and find out for himself what God has to say to him about Himself, then yes, I’d question that person’s salvation.*****
Your words in post #1141
****And that’s different from Catholicism how?
My statement is that if someone has true saving faith, it will show by their fruits and works, that there will be evidence. If there is ZERO evidence, absolutely no change in their lives after a verbal profession of faith, yes, I do wonder if they are saved or have saving faith because saving faith WILL produce results.****
<< 2 Peter 2 >>
New American Standard Bible
20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22It has happened to them according to the true proverb, A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT, and, A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.
And therein lies the difference between what a Catholic believes and what a protestant believes. One can have faith, can live a righteous life and fall back into the mire of sin, rejecting Jesus’ grace and therefore their salvation.
****That is, if you don’t tow the line, you lost your salvation, making it a works based religious system.****
A clear misunderstanding of Catholic teaching on salvation.
One doesn’t “tow the line” to earn salvation. One lives out their faith in Jesus through their actions and behavior. One remains in Christ so that He will remain in them. There are many, many, many verses in Scripture where we are told that the branch that does not bear fruit will be cut off. Salvation was won by Christ on the cross.
Justification is by faith.
Sanctification is growing in grace and is a lifelong process.
Jesus’ mission is finished, the rest is up to us.
One cannot earn one’s salvation through works. It is only by God’s grace through the saving sacrifice of Jesus that one can be saved.