Friday, March 29, 2013

How Does Good Friday *Work*, Exactly?

Today, Christians celebrate Good Friday, recalling the Death of Christ on the Cross for our sins. Virtually all Christians agree that Christ’s Death is an atoning Sacrifice for our sins. But Catholics and Reformed Protestants understand the nature of that Sacrifice very differently.  Is Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross the outpouring of the Father’s wrath upon His innocent Son? Or is it the Son offering up the perfect Sacrifice of Charity? Why do we think that Christ’s Death is capable of atoning for our sins, anyway?

I. Penal Substitution, and Why It Doesn’t Work

The penal substitution view taken by many Protestants (primarily Calvinists) is that on the Cross, God the
Father pours out His hatred and wrath upon Jesus. Here’s how Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll explains (and defends) this view of the Atonement:
God’s wrath begins in this life as He simply allows us to live out of our sin nature without stopping us (Rom. 1:18, 24, 26). God’s wrath continues to burn against us, forever (Deut. 32:21-22; John 3:36; Eph. 5:6; Rev. 14:9-11). The place of God’s unending active wrath is hell, which Jesus spoke of more than anyone in the Bible as an eternal place (Matt. 25:46) of painful torment (Matt. 8:11-12), like taking a beating (Luke 12:46-48), getting butchered (Matt. 24:50-51), and burned (Matt. 8:29; 13:49-50; 18:8-9; 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-31) by Jesus (Matt. 8:29; Mark 1:24; 5:7; Rev. 14:10). Because God’s angry wrath is just, God is not obligated to lovingly forgive anyone, as is the case with fallen angels who have no possibility of salvation (2 Peter 2:4).

But, because God is loving, merciful, and kind, He has chosen to save some people. Furthermore, salvation is defined as deliverance by God from God and His wrath (Rom. 5:9-10). To both demonstrate His hatred of sin and love for sinners, Jesus averted the wrath of God by dying on the cross as a substitute for sinners.
So sin arouses the Father’s wrath, and He can either justly pour it out on the sinners who deserve it, or “mercifully” pour it out upon Jesus, who is innocent. Let’s consider some of the problems with this view:
    Simon Vouet, The Crucifixion (1622)
  1. It means that God isn’t just. Wrath for the wicked is just, but wrath for the innocent is unjust. If a
    judge imposed the death penalty on the defendant’s brother, we wouldn’t herald him for his mercy to the defendant. We’d recognize that he was acting unjustly. God’s Mercy cannot act contrary to His Justice, so this view can’t be right.

  2. It means that God isn’t all-good. Imagine an enraged man so furious over some offense that he’s swinging wildly: he doesn’t care who he hits, he just wants to hit somebody. Penal substitution risks reducing God to that sort of madman. Don’t get me wrong: there’s no merit to that “A loving God would never punish the wicked” line. But it’s certainly true that “A loving God would never pour out His wrath upon an innocent victim.”  As Bryan Cross put it, “One problem with the Reformed conception is that it would either make the Father guilty of the greatest evil of all time (pouring out the punishment for all sin on an innocent man, knowing that he is innocent), or if Christ were truly guilty and deserved all that punishment, then His suffering would be of no benefit to us.

  3. It would seem to require Christ to be damned.  If the Atonement is about the outpouring out of God’s “unending active wrath” upon His Son, this would seem to require the damnation of Christ. Certainly, that was John Calvin's view:Nothing had been done if Christ had only endured corporeal death. In order to interpose between us and God’s anger, and satisfy his righteous judgment, it was necessary that he should feel the weight of divine vengeance. […] Hence there is nothing strange in its being said that he descended to hell, seeing he endured the death which is inflicted on the wicked by an angry God.” But the notion that God can go to Hell is incompatible with everything we believe about Hell; the notion that God can damn God is incompatible with the Trinity and the innocence of Christ.

  4. It makes no sense of the Trinity. God’s Triune nature works something like this: the Father gives everything (but His Fatherhood) to the Son, as Lover and Beloved, Begetter and Begotten. This communication of Persons is the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Penal substitution introduces a rupture into the Trinity, in which there’s a divorce between the Father and the Son. That sort of rupture isn’t possible, if we properly understand the Trinity as eternal, simple, and unchanging.  Cross again: “If God the Father was pouring out His wrath on the Second Person of the Trinity, then God was divided against Himself, God the Father hating His own Word. God could hate the Son only if the Son were another being, that is, if polytheism or Arianism were true. But if God loved the Son, then it must be another person (besides the Son) whom God was hating during Christ’s Passion.” And since the Persons of the Trinity are in complete union, if the Father has wrath for the Son, then the Son must have no less wrath for Himself.

  5. It reduces Christianity to human sacrifice. The Aztecs offered up human victims to appease the gods. Abraham was willing to do the same with Isaac, but was stopped by God. Jews and Christians rightly reject this sort of human sacrifice as barbaric, and contrary to the will of the God of Abraham. Penal substitution ultimately reduces Christianity to something akin to human sacrifice: we kill Jesus to appease the Father.

  6. It doesn’t require repentance. A former professor used to say, “You can speed all you want. You just have to be willing to pay the penalty when you get ticketed.” Likewise, in this penal substitution view, we can do whatever we want, knowing that Christ will pay the penalty.

    The penal substitution view is all about paying the Father with blood: the emphasis is on the offering of a sacrifice, rather than the turning of hearts. That’s exactly the wrong view, according to several parts of Scripture. For example, Hosea 6:6 says, “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.” And Hebrews 5:5-7 applies this passage to Christ’s relationship to the Father: “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,’ as it is written of me in the roll of the book.” And Christ twice sends His hears to go learn the meaning of “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matt. 9:13; Matt. 12:17).

Fortunately, there’s another, older view of the Atonement: the Satisfaction theory. This view of the Atonement accounts for all of the Scriptural evidence and the demands of God’s Justice, without falling into of the traps described above.

II. A Better View of the Atonement: Satisfaction

Catholics more or less agree with the Reformed on the first half of the equation. By willingly sinning against God, we merit the “wages of sin,” death (Romans 6:23). We fall short of the glory of God, and God could justly condemn us for our rebellion.

But we disagree with how Christ solves this problem. We view the Incarnation and Passion of Christ as a manifestation of the Father’s love rather than His wrath, as John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  This view of the Atonement better accounts for the Justice of God, the Goodness of God, and the relationship between Persons of the Trinity. Bryan Cross provides this helpful chart:


How does this work, exactly?

Imagine that your neighbor reckless crashes into your car, damaging or destroying it. In justice, you can demand that your neighbor compensate you, and repair the damage. But perhaps your neighbor can’t do that: he can’t afford to repair the damage that he’s done (just as we can never merit to repair the damage done by sin).

Michaelangelo, Crucifixion (1540)
This creates quite a conundrum. In justice, you can hold this debt against your neighbor forever, but it’ll never get paid. But imagine that a mutual friend comes along on behalf of your neighbor and gives you a newer, nicer car. This satisfies the debt: you don’t need to hold out for your neighbor to pay. And your friend isn’t being punished. You’re not pouring out your wrath on your friend. You’re not furious with him for crashing into your car (which he didn’t do). Instead, he voluntarily offers a gift to you on behalf of your neighbor, reconciling the situation. If anything, such a selfless gesture should draw you closer to your friend: and it should certainly draw your neighbor closer to this selfless friend.

So it is with Christ, the Friend who reconciles us to the Father. As St. Thomas Aquinas explains:
A sacrifice properly so called is something done for that honor which is properly due to God, in order to appease Him: and hence it is that Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x): "A true sacrifice is every good work done in order that we may cling to God in holy fellowship, yet referred to that consummation of happiness wherein we can be truly blessed." But, as is added in the same place, "Christ offered Himself up for us in the Passion": and this voluntary enduring of the Passion was most acceptable to God, as coming from charity. Therefore it is manifest that Christ's Passion was a true sacrifice. Moreover, as Augustine says farther on in the same book, "the primitive sacrifices of the holy Fathers were many and various signs of this true sacrifice, one being prefigured by many, in the same way as a single concept of thought is expressed in many words, in order to commend it without tediousness": and, as Augustine observe, (De Trin. iv), "since there are four things to be noted in every sacrifice--to wit, to whom it is offered, by whom it is offered, what is offered, and for whom it is offered--that the same one true Mediator reconciling us with God through the peace-sacrifice might continue to be one with Him to whom He offered it, might be one with them for whom He offered it, and might Himself be the offerer and what He offered."

Christ offers the perfect Sacrifice to the Father through His total self-sacrifice, and it is critical that it is done out of love. Using charity, rather than wrath, as the lens through which to understand sacrifice is crucial. It explains how we can “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God” (Heb. 13:15; 1 Macc. 4:56), a concept that wouldn’t make sense if we understood a sacrifice as an object of God’s wrath.  This is also how David explains God's desire for sacrifice in Psalm 51:16-17:
For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
So a penal sacrifice intended to satisfy some sort of imagined Divine bloodlust doesn’t please God. Charity and repentance does, and the epitome of charity is Good Friday.  In love, Christ reconciles us to the Father.  In love, the Father delights in His Son's selflessness on the Cross, and accepts it as a satisfaction of the debt incurred by  our sins.  This reconciliation is where the word “atonement” comes from.  Once we are reconciled, we are “at one” with each other. And that is why Good Friday is so Good.

This view also explains why salvation is offered to men, and not fallen angels, but that is a conversation for another time (in short, our intellects operate in time, theirs do not, and so their choice is permanent, as ours will be at death). 

346 comments:

  1. I remember when I first saw that graphic of the Reformed/Catholic view of the cross. It was definitely one of those "ahhhhh..." moments.

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    1. David,


      This is another fruit of those Friday night Aquinas dinners at Dr. Lawrence Feingold’s. This time, Dr. Bryan Cross was in attendance. One of the participants is Reformed (for now), and was making the case for penal substitution, so I got to hear how my betters would respond to it. The question for the evening was III, 48, which is perfect (I quoted from article 3 in the post above). You’re going to come to one of these at some point, right?

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    2. Absolutely! My guess is late summer, early fall :-)

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  2. Wow, I am learning a whole lot since my conversion. :)

    I have to say, the Reformed and Catholic views of the cross remind me of what makes a good disciplinary father when things have gone wrong with his children, and a bad one. It would make sense that a loving father would want to put right sin through acts of charity and love, restoring the balance in a cheesy way of saying it. A father would want us to admit our wrongdoings, have faith that he knows what is best, and do some form of action to show we are reformed or working towards betterment? A bad father would react with rage, no wisdom, and seek for immediate punishment, or action that would just further segregate his children from him.

    I'm an n00b apologist so forgive me if I failed at this.

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  3. I'm not clear why Jesus had to die on either model. Did not Jesus teach that sins were forgiven during his own ministry, for example the petitions for forgiveness in the Our Father and the parable of the Prodigal Son?

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    1. Bloggingtheology,

      The Passion was a total self-gift by Jesus Christ, and the highest possible charitable act. St. Thomas Aquinas handles the question you asked me, as well as the argument in your most recent blog post, in Part III, Question 49 of the Summa. He explains in one of his responses that the Passion is atoning precisely because love atones for sins, and the Cross is the greatest possible act of love:

      “I answer that, Christ's Passion is the proper cause of the forgiveness of sins in three ways. First of all, by way of exciting our charity, because, as the Apostle says (Romans 5:8): "God commendeth His charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us." But it is by charity that we procure pardon of our sins, according to Luke 7:47: "Many sins are forgiven her because she hath loved much." Secondly, Christ's Passion causes forgiveness of sins by way of redemption. For since He is our head, then, by the Passion which He endured from love and obedience, He delivered us as His members from our sins, as by the price of His Passion: in the same way as if a man by the good industry of his hands were to redeem himself from a sin committed with his feet. For, just as the natural body is one though made up of diverse members, so the whole Church, Christ's mystic body, is reckoned as one person with its head, which is Christ. Thirdly, by way of efficiency, inasmuch as Christ's flesh, wherein He endured the Passion, is the instrument of the Godhead, so that His sufferings and actions operate with Divine power for expelling sin.”

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    2. bloggingtheologyMarch 29, 2013 at 3:48 PM
      I'm not clear why Jesus had to die on either model.


      St. Paul gives the best answer to that question.

      Hebrews 9:15-17
      King James Version (KJV)
      15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

      16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

      17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

      Jesus is God. And therefore it was necessary for God to die in order for the promises to be activated.

      Did not Jesus teach that sins were forgiven during his own ministry, for example the petitions for forgiveness in the Our Father and the parable of the Prodigal Son?

      Hm? I'm not sure I understand the question.

      1. Yes. Jesus did teach the forgiveness of sins.
      2. But forgiveness of sins is not sufficient to reconcile humanity to the world.
      3. That required the death of the Testator. For two reasons:
      a. The Old promises must be fulfilled.
      b. The New promises (the coming of the Holy Spirit) must be activated.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria



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  4. I disagee that points 1, 2, and 6 logically follow if we are extra charitble for their argument. 3 is brilliant! 4 is pretty strong. I'm not sure that the objection in 5 can't be lobbed back at our side.

    3 is the game changer though, making anything else academic.

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    1. Daniel,

      How can one hold to penal substitution and avoid 1, 2, and 6? And I don’t think that 5 can be “lobbed back,” if we’re clear about what we mean by human sacrifice.

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  5. For issues one and two, in your example of the defendant's brother, if the brother voluntered Hungar Games style to undergo the trial and its consequences on his behalf, it might not be unjust for the judge to proceed. It's a nebulous ethical area for me in the human context, but if God actually did such a thing in reality, would you stop following him? Or would you adjust your ethics?

    5 is tricky. God as priest sacrificed God as lamb to make atonement with God as Father in order to reconcile the world with the Godhead. Nevertheless, the way that happened in history was man killed Jesus on a Roman cross. It's not that lamb's blood or even The Lamb's blood has a special property that appeases God, but rather charitible love pleases God, which is expressed in its highest meaning in the act of sacrifice. No greater love than who lays down his life, etc.


    For 6, I think it's unfair because those who advocate for the theory are very vocal in their call for repentance.

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    1. Daniel, I think your missing the level of Altruism that goes into Jesus act of sacrifice that can't be reached by any other person. Jesus was in eternal bliss with the Father in heaven, he didn't have to become man and offer himself for our sins. You could say that his sacrifice began with his incarnation. Furthermore we can not look at salvation history linearly, Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega all forgiveness is inextricably linked to his sacrifice, this is why we believe that Mary was created free from sin and yet was still saved by God. God reached forward in time plucked the fruits of his own redemption and applied them to his mother's conception, hence the Immaculate Conception.

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  6. Joe,

    Jesus is reported to have said:

    Pray like this:

    Our Father in heaven.....
    and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.....

    If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.



    Let me suggest a possible scenario (it may well have happened). Jesus’ disciples hear him preach the Sermon on the Mount (from which this prayer is taken) and that very night go home and sincerely pray to God in heaven to forgive their sins. Their sins are forgiven.

    Therefore it is untrue to suggest that Jesus needed to die for sinners to be forgiven. The Lord’s Prayer teaches otherwise...

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    1. That forgiveness is because of the union between the believer and Christ. Otherwise, Christ would be expendable, not just the Passion. Revelation 1:5 specifically says that Christ washed away our sins in His Blood. All forgiveness of sins (whether prior to, or after, that point in history) are intimately connected with Calvary, and efficacious because of it.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    3. You assume that their praying that night was not affected by the Passion, which happened later. But in His eyes a thousand years are as a day -- and one day is as a thousand years. It would be from His Passion that they derived the grace to so pray.

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  7. Joe,

    I'm glad you've taken up this banner, since really the only other place I've seen regularly bringing light to this is Called To Communion.

    I've been obsessed with Penal Substitution apologetics for over 6 years now, writing extensively on it. Not to toot my own horn, but I've not known anyone, especially Catholics who has written more than I have on it.

    The absolute key to winning this debate against Protestants is to show them the doctrine is flatly unbiblical. For example, almost nobody has taken a look at the Hebrew/Greek word for "Atonement" that the Bible uses and how it's used. When I decided to do that, the results were astonishing: the Biblical term "Atonement" NEVER involves transferring a punishment. This means that the Protestant view of Atonement isn't even a valid possibility!

    Another detail that almost nobody recognizes is that the Crucifixion accounts (and NT as a whole) never mentions anything close to the Father venting His wrath. Talk about not looking to the Scriptures! As I delved into the Levitical Sacrifices, along with key texts like Isaiah 53, the crystal clear evidence was that Psub was completely foreign to Scripture.

    The only question left on the table is: why would Protestants even embrace such an abomination in the first place? The answer is because Luther & Co (rightly) recognized that Psub is the lynchpin for Sola Fide, and Sola Fide must be upheld at all costs, even if it means sending Jesus to hell.

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    1. Nick,
      You wrote -"the Crucifixion accounts (and NT as a whole) never mentions anything close to the Father venting His wrath." What did Paul mean in Rom 5:9- Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. ????

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    2. Meyu,

      You asked what Romans 5:9 refers to. The wrath that Paul is speaking of is the eschatological wrath of God. Being "justified by His blood" puts one in a reconciled state with God and thus out of the danger zone, so to speak. As an OT analogy, the Passover involved God's wrath sweeping across Egypt, with the blood of the Lamb causing the people to be saved from (i.e. out of the path of) the coming wrath. None of this entails God venting His wrath on a substitute.

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    3. "Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;"

      That isn't eschatological wrath...

      (Not advocating this theory, just seeing where it leads)

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    4. Daniel,

      I agree with Meyu (although it’s possible that the two of us are misunderstanding you). There are plenty of Scriptural references to the wrath of God. What there aren’t are references to God venting this wrath against the innocent -- much less against His all-holy perfect Son.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    6. The advocates of the theory (which again I'm not especially because of point 3 which is definitive) would say that venting wrath at the innocent is unjust whereas venting it unto Christ who bore our sins in his body would not be.

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    7. Daniel,

      The problem is that advocates of PSub are doing precisely what they're not supposed to do: beg the question. I refuse to grant a thesis any validity until it can be backed up, and yet PSub has been shown to be bankrupt philosophically, logically, theologically, and exegetically. So we should not really be concerned about what they think is an exception or loophole to being unjust if they cannot even present a positive case to begin with. The notion of Christ "bearing sin" has nothing to do with Penal Substituion if one knows what *the Bible* means by that phrase.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. De Maria,

      I enjoy your contributions, but I have to agree with Nick. You have essentially posted ten consecutive comments on this, and that can be overwhelming to respond to. Perhaps it would be better if you wrote down your initial reactions, but then summarized, so that it was just a few comments at any given time.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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  10. Got it. Offending series of posts is deleted. Sorry.

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    1. Your posts are usually the highlight of my day, fyi.

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  11. Your car-crash analogy is civil law, not criminal law.

    In criminal law there is no private right to forgive - your victim may forgive you - but because you offended the law itself justice must still be executed.

    That is, unless you are in a Roman Catholic country where the judge can be bribed, i.e., "satisfaction theory".





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    1. Well. It doesn't get more 'ad hominem' than that.

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    2. mackquigleyMarch 30, 2013 at 5:17 AM
      Your car-crash analogy is civil law, not criminal law.


      1. Your wrong. It is actually a good analogy for both.
      2. But the analogy which Joe is drawing is to the atonement. Jesus Christ atoning for the sin of the world. Not to any sort of law.

      In criminal law there is no private right to forgive

      In fact, there is. Criminal law does not forbid anyone forgiving their offender. But if you can provide that law, I'd like to see it.

      - your victim may forgive you -

      Now you have admitted your error.

      but because you offended the law itself justice must still be executed.

      Precisely why Jesus had to die for our sins. Did you never notice Barabbas?

      Pilate released the man, Barabbas, who was soon to be executed for rebellion and murder. And also released Jesus. But he released Jesus to the Jews so that the Jews might do with Him as they pleased. The Jews pronounced death upon Him.

      The symbolism here is profound.

      Barabbas, the son of the father, symbolizes all the people. We are all sons of God. Therefore the Scripture says that we are gods. We are guilty of all manner of sins and deserved death. But Barabbas was released. Symbolizing that God has taken away our death sentence and we have another chance.

      Jesus was then executed by His own people, in the place of Barabbas who deserved to be executed.

      Therefore, the analogy fits whether you use civil or criminal law.

      That is, unless you are in a Roman Catholic country where the judge can be bribed, i.e., "satisfaction theory".

      The thing of it is, anyone who bribes anyone, whether they are Catholic or not, are doing it against the Teaching of the Catholic Church. Any sin, committed by Protestant, Catholic or anyone else, transgresses the Teaching of the Catholic Church.

      That's the bottom line. Whereas, Protestants have mainlined many sins and no longer recognize them. The Catholic Church is still at war with sin.

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  12. Joe: "forgiveness is because of the union between the believer and Christ. ....All forgiveness of sins (whether prior to, or after, that point in history) are intimately connected with Calvary, and efficacious because of it."

    That is your view but not the teaching of Jesus. In the Lord's Prayer Jesus teaches his disciples to pray directly to God - note there is no reference to Jesus or the Spirit in this paradigmatic prayer. Jesus' teaching was theocentric not christocentric (as was Paul's). Have you noticed that?

    God just forgives sins in Jesus' teaching, he does not require that His son be horribly tortured to death. See the parable of the Prodigal Son for a perfect illustration of this truth.

    John the Baptist taught the same:

    'John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.'

    Note that sins were confessed and forgiven without any need of a human death - for whatever reason. Your belief in Jesus necessary sacrifice is redundant and soteriologically superfluous.

    This is the case in the Torah too. A sin offering was not needed for the vast majority of sins - simple heart-felt repentance would do. God is forgiving and merciful.



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    1. Reconciliation involves: forgiveness of the sin, forgiveness of the sinner, a restoration of the sinner among the faithful, restitution, repentance, and an effort to fix the spiritual defect that allowed sin to defeat you in the first place through prayer and fasting (called penance).

      Your view covers the first aspect and maybe the second.

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    2. indeed - so no blood sacrifice was required for forgiveness of sins in the Torah or in John the Baptist's proclamation or in Jesus' teaching (see the Lord's Prayer and passim). Blood atonement for ALL sins is a later Pauline Christian idea.

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    3. Blood is required for forgiveness. " For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’ Lev 17:11

      Hebrews 9:22 is even clearer--:And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

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    4. bloggingtheologyMarch 30, 2013 at 5:53 AM
      Joe: "forgiveness is because of the union between the believer and Christ. ....All forgiveness of sins (whether prior to, or after, that point in history) are intimately connected with Calvary, and efficacious because of it."

      That is your view but not the teaching of Jesus. In the Lord's Prayer Jesus teaches his disciples to pray directly to God - note there is no reference to Jesus or the Spirit in this paradigmatic prayer. Jesus' teaching was theocentric not christocentric (as was Paul's). Have you noticed that?


      No. It was Christ's teaching:
      Matthew 26:28
      For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

      …. This is the case in the Torah too. A sin offering was not needed for the vast majority of sins - simple heart-felt repentance would do. God is forgiving and merciful.

      1. You are partially correct.
      2. However, if Jesus did not die (that is, if God the Second Person of the Holy Trinity) did not die, the promises of the Old Testament would not be actuated and neither the Jews nor the Christians after them would ever be made perfect and enter heaven:
      Hebrews 9:15-17
      King James Version (KJV)
      15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
      16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

      Hebrews 11:39-40
      King James Version (KJV)
      39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

      Hebrews 2:9-11
      King James Version (KJV)
      9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

      Therefore, it was necessary that Jesus die on the Cross.

      3. From the Old Testament to the New, it is necessary that blood be shed for the forgiveness of sins:
      Hebrews 9:17-19
      King James Version (KJV)
      17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. 18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

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  13. mackquigley, you said,

    'In criminal law there is no private right to forgive - your victim may forgive you - but because you offended the law itself justice must still be executed.'

    In Western secular law you are correct, but under Islamic law the victim's family have a key role: they can demand that the offender be punished (executed), or forgiven (shown mercy) or blood money paid (compensation) - as in cases of murder for example. A must better system in my view.

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    1. Bt:

      You have the sensibilities of a Moslem. Enough said.

      Nevertheless, God is holy and he will not clear the guilty: "will by no means clear the guilty" Exodus 34:7 KJV; Numbers 14:18 KJV; Matthew 5:26 KJV.

      God's forgiveness is not the same as the payment for sin. When God remitted sin in the Old Testament (including during Christ's earthly ministry - Luke 5:20 KJV), he was setting them aside for himself to make the payment, which he did at Calvary.

      "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" Romans 3:25 KJV.

      Unsaved religious people are self-righteous: They don't accept the fact that they really deserve crucifixion and hell for their sin, and/or they think that they can make some payment toward getting out.

      Jesus death presents them with the dilemma of accepting how guilty they are, and how worthless their good deeds. So the unsaved Catholic pretends Jesus death was just a good deed that merely assists him in continuing with a pagan do-good religious system: thus he continues in his soul-damning state of self-righteousness.

      - Mack.


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    2. bloggingtheologyMarch 30, 2013 at 7:20 AM
      mackquigley, you said,

      'In criminal law there is no private right to forgive - your victim may forgive you - but because you offended the law itself justice must still be executed.'

      In Western secular law you are correct, but under Islamic law the victim's family have a key role: they can demand that the offender be punished (executed), or forgiven (shown mercy) or blood money paid (compensation) - as in cases of murder for example. A must better system in my view.


      That is your opinion. I disagree. However, we are speaking about theology, not civil or criminal law. And theologically speaking, it is much worse. Since they hold the same view. They claim that Allah will not forgive unless the victim forgives. Therefore, they hold Allah hostage to human injustice.

      Whereas, in the Christian paradigm, repentance of the sinner is what is necessary. And those people who refuse to forgive their neighbor thereby put their own salvation in jeopardy:

      Matthew 18:20-35
      King James Version (KJV)
      20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
      21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
      22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
      32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
      33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
      34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
      35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

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    3. mackquigleyMarch 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM
      Bt:

      You have the sensibilities of a Moslem. Enough said.


      Agreed.

      Nevertheless, God is holy and he will not clear the guilty: "will by no means clear the guilty" Exodus 34:7 KJV; Numbers 14:18 KJV; Matthew 5:26 KJV.

      That is self contradicting. If God does not "clear the guilty", then, by definition, all Protestants are doomed since they believe that they are "Totally depraved".

      God's forgiveness is not the same as the payment for sin. When God remitted sin in the Old Testament (including during Christ's earthly ministry - Luke 5:20 KJV), he was setting them aside for himself to make the payment, which he did at Calvary.

      Luke 5:20 doesn't support your statement. It has nothing to do with it. It is true that when we are saved, we are set aside for Holy Purposes. Nonetheless, Luke 5:20 is more a support for the Sacraments, wherein Jesus Christ pours His grace into us in accordance with our faith. But it says nothing about Him and Calvary. Read it:

      Luke 5:20 (KJV 1900)
      20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

      "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" Romans 3:25 KJV.

      Do you know what that means? It is Catholic Doctrine.

      20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.


      We are not justified by the Old Law. The Old Law simply taught us that which we should not do because it is sin.

      21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

      22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:


      But now justification, the righteousness of God, is effected in the rituals, rites and ordinances of the faith OF Jesus Christ. That is to say, the religion which He instituted and the Sacraments which He established. Upon all who believe in Jesus. For there is no difference. Whether they be Jew or Gentile, if they believe and obey the Word of Jesus Christ, they will be saved. As the Scripture says elsewhere:
      Hebrews 5:9
      And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

      23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

      Jews have sinned against God and Gentiles have sinned against God. Therefore, they are in the same boat.


      24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

      But now in the Sacraments, especially in Baptism, all who believe in Christ have been redeemed by His grace.

      25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

      And these who have been thus set aside are a propitiation an atoning, an expiation of sin, through the faith they have in His sacrifice. And they are set aside to declare that by His goodness and mercy they have been washed of their sins.

      cont'd

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    4. cont'd

      26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

      To declare, to preach and report the goodness and justice of God who washes away the sins of all who believe in His Son.

      27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

      Unsaved religious people are self-righteous:

      Whether anyone, religious or not, is saved, is not yours to judge. We have one Judge. Jesus Christ. You also will stand before Him:
      Romans 14:4
      Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

      Romans 14:10
      But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

      They don't accept the fact that they really deserve crucifixion and hell for their sin, and/or they think that they can make some payment toward getting out.

      We believe that God is righteous and will remember our labor in His name:
      Hebrews 6:10
      For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

      Jesus death presents them with the dilemma of accepting how guilty they are, and how worthless their good deeds.

      Maybe your good deeds are worthless. But I'll await God's judgment upon mine. As for me, I place no obstacles to God and give myself over to Him that He might work through me:
      Philippians 2:11-13
      King James Version (KJV)
      11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.


      So the unsaved Catholic pretends Jesus death was just a good deed that merely assists him in continuing with a pagan do-good religious system: thus he continues in his soul-damning state of self-righteousness.

      It is easy to see, simply by reading the commentary, who amongst us is self righteous. And it isn't the Catholics who have written in on this page.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

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  15. Mack

    if you read Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount you will see that sin is forgiven WITHOUT any blood sacrifice - human or animal.

    I believe in a God or mercy and forgiveness, just as Jesus did:

    ‘Pray then in this way:
    Our Father in heaven...

    ...forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

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    1. Christ took to Himself the wrath of God for our sins so that we could be forgiven. If He had not done that, then we would pay for our sins ourselves and be condemned.

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    2. BT:

      Forgiveness is not the same as payment.

      Analogy: You finish a meal at an expensive restaurant and panic when you discover that you forgot your wallet. You are in debt and unable to pay but a fellow next to you tells you to relax, just give him the check and he will pay it for you. You relax now because you are free, your debts have been assumed. That's just forgiveness. You still can't leave the restaurant on your own. However next the fellow goes up to the manager and pays your bill. That's the payment that had to be made. That's redemption - i.e., the cross. Now you are entirely free, just as the old testament saints were after Calvary.

      Today the man who trusts Christ gets both forgiveness and redemption at the same time. We not only are forgiven, even if we order desert afterwards we still do not lose our salvation because all has been paid.

      The sermon on the mount has nothing to do with the gospel of salvation that Paul preached - Jesus Christ dying for our sins, see 1 Corinthians 15:1-5.

      If you trust the sermon on the mount for how to get to saved, then you are as good as in hell and the doors bolted shut on you.

      - Mack.

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    3. The only way God could forgive is by Christ paying the debt of sin.

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    4. OR he could just forgive our sins, just like Jesus taught in the Lord's prayer and Luke 15.

      In my experience Christians often use the analogy of a ‘debt’ to explain how God needs someone to pay off our sin debt to him, and, because of his justice, he must take the payment from someone. Jesus however had very different ideas about God, namely that God is quite able to just cancel our debt of sin and forgive the sinner.


      In Matthew 18 we read Jesus’ teaching:

      The Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of pounds. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

      “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

      “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand pounds. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

      “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

      “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

      “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

      So God freely forgives our sins and expects us to forgive our neighbour too. The Lord’s Prayer, of course, has the same commandment.

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    5. Forgiveness is possible only because the debt of sin has been paid for. God's justice must be satisfied. He cannot just overlook it. There must be punishment for breaking the law of God. That breaking of the law of God is called sin. The payment for sin must be paid for so that forgiveness could be granted. Jesus Himself understood this where He said--"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matt 20:20. The ransom is a price paid to redeem a slave or a prisoner. The ransom was for sin to satisfy God's justice and wrath against sin. This was done on the cross. Without this there would be no forgiveness for anyone.

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    6. Meyu,

      You said: "Christ took to Himself the wrath of God for our sins so that we could be forgiven. If He had not done that, then we would pay for our sins ourselves and be condemned."

      Sorry buddy but this is 100% a Tradition of Men. It's not in the Bible. I'm saying this to wake you up, because as soon as you start looking for the mountain of Biblical evidence for this, you'll see just how lacking it is. God's Word above man's word. It doesn't matter how fancy the language is, if it aint God's Word then you should avoid 'preaching' it.

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    7. Sorry Nick but you don't understand Scripture well. Here is one passage to consider from I Peter 3:18
      "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;"

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    8. But you need to take a look at what is actually being said: "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit"

      Does this say ANYTHING about Jesus taking on the Father's Wrath? Consider what Peter says just prior to this in Chapter 2:

      "18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."

      This text provides the proper lens for understanding Christ's suffering. Jesus endured the "unjust suffering" by men, and this is what was pleasing to God (v2:19,20b). In fact, Peter says Jesus did this as a model-example for us, that we should "follow in his steps". That's absurd if the whole point was that Jesus was taking wrath so we wouldn't have to.

      Again, I'm just trying to get you and others to realize that once they delve into the actual Biblical evidence, the Sacred Text says NOTHING about the Father's Wrath - and in fact much that contradicts the PSub thesis.

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    9. If you want to know where the Scripture speaks of the wrath of God on sin then look at Rom 5:9--Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

      Jesus took on the wrath of God for us when He was on the cross.

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    10. No, Rom 5:9 is talking about future wrath that we will be saved from, which is why Paul says there is a distinction between "Justified by his blood" in the past tense and "shall be saved from the wrath" in the future. It does not mean that Jesus took wrath in our place. These kinds of texts show just how desperate the "Jesus took our wrath" thesis is. You need to realize that being saved from X does not logically nor necessarily mean someone suffers X in our place.

      If that is the best you can come up with, then my claim is vindicated.

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    11. Meyu,

      I think you did a good job of summarizing penal substitution in a single sentence: “Jesus took on the wrath of God for us when He was on the cross.”

      Now, can you point me to where in Scripture this doctrine comes from?

      I see plenty of places where it talks about the wrath of God for sin, about Jesus saving us from Hell, etc., but absolutely nothing about Jesus taking on the wrath of God for us when He was on the Cross. And that’s the central point of your atonement theory, so shouldn’t it have at least a single verse supporting it?

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    12. Joe,
      There are number of verses. I Thess 1:10, 5:9, Rom 1:18, 8:1

      Delete
    13. Nick,
      You are incorrect again about Rom 5:9. Notice what 5:1-2 say--"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God..." Because Christ took on the wrath of God in our place on the cross we are now justified. Our justification is a one-time legal declaration with continuing results.
      Another passage to look at is found in 2 Cor 5:21-"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

      It was on the cross that Christ was punished for our sins. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 1 Peter 3:18

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    14. Joe,
      I gave you a number of passages to look at. Here are a couple of more:
      "Isaiah 53:4-6, 10, 11—"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all ... It was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin ... By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities."

      2 Corinthians 5:21—"For our sake He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

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    15. Meyu,

      I've been having PSub debates long enough to understand the bigger picture. If PSub falls, then so does Sola Fide. This is why every Calvinist who understands the situation will likewise defend PSub at all costs. So I'm not expecting you to just take my words immediately to heart when I (continue to) say that no text of Scripture says Jesus endured the Father's Wrath. I know this takes time, even years, before a Lutheran or Calvinist might take a critical look at Sola Fide and PSub, asking themselves whether the Bible really is teaching these or whether they are holding onto traditions of men.

      With that in mind, let me go through your verses and highlight the key phrase and show you why they don't teach Jesus underwent the Father's wrath:

      1 Thess 1:10 says "Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come"
      1 Thess 5:10 says "For God has not destined us for wrath"
      Rom 1:18 says "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness"
      Rom 8:1 says "There is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus"
      Rom 5:1f says "Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God"
      1 Peter 3:18 says "Christ died for sins...put to death in the flesh"

      These don’t plainly say nor logically necessitate that Jesus endured the Father's wrath.

      2 Cor 5:21 says "God made Jesus Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf"
      The terminology of being "made sin" comes right out of the Levitical Sacrifice language, where the term "sin" had a double meaning, referring to either the sin itself or the sin offering. This says nothing about nor does it imply any sort of imputation either. Protestants project a ton of assumptions on this verse.

      Isaiah 53:4 says "He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows"
      This verse is directly quoted in Matthew 8:16-17, saying that Jesus "borne" and "carried" away diseases by healing people: nothing to do with bearing wrath.

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    16. Isaiah 53:4 says "Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted"
      From the natural point of view, it looked as if Jesus was suffering because He was under God's displeasure, which is why the crowds mocked and said "If God is your Father, save yourself." Yet these same words, stricken, smitten, and afflicted, are used in reference to the Patriarch Job, and yet God was never upset with Job despite allowing Job to be stricken, smitten, and afflicted. The whole point of the passage is that the crowds were deluded in coming to their conclusions; they *falsely* reckoned/esteemed Jesus to be under God's displeasure.

      Isaiah 53:5 says "He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities"
      Isaiah 53:6 says "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all"
      Isaiah 53:10 says "It was the will of the Lord to bruise him, to put him to grief"

      When we ask ourselves when and how Jesus was wounded and bruised, we look to the Crucifixion accounts, which show these were physical pains at the hands of the Romans, not the Father's invisible spiritual wrath bearing down on him. Penal Substitution makes the physical sufferings of Jesus purely incidental (accidental) to the Atonement, as something that just happened to accompany the real agony that allegedly occurred on the invisible realm when enduring the Father’s Wrath, which the Gospel writers didn’t even notice because it was so invisible.

      Isaiah 53:5 says "upon him was the chastisement, and by his stripes we are healed"
      This doesn't plainly say nor logically necessitate that Jesus endured the Father's wrath. And amazingly, the term "chastisement" is used here, a specific Hebrew term for a father *disciplining* his son in love, which is why Hebrews 12 uses this same word speaking of the Father *disciplining* us children. This term completely undermines the notion of Penal Substition and especially God's Wrath.

      Isaiah 53:11 says "he shall bear their iniquities"
      language comes from the Torah speaking of how the Levitical Priests are to bear the iniquity of the congregation, not by taking on their guilty but specifically by making atonement for them (see Leviticus 10:17 and the recent article on my blog for more).

      I know it will be hard for you to admit it, but none of these texts plainly say Jesus endured teh Father's wrath, and none of them come anywhere close to this. There is an element of desperation involved to cite all these texts just in the hope that some case can be made, but it really just brings out the fact there is no good Biblical evidence for it - as hard as it is to admit.

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    17. Nick,
      God was using the Romans to pour out His wrath on Christ for our sins. Jesus allowed this to happen because He knew this was the way the Father's wrath would poured on Him for our sin.

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    18. Meyu,

      You said: "God was using the Romans to pour out His wrath on Christ for our sins. Jesus allowed this to happen because He knew this was the way the Father's wrath would poured on Him for our sin."

      I'm actually very glad you brought this up. Aside from the fact you still haven't shown any Biblical connection between the Father's Wrath and Jesus' suffering, this admission actually completely refutes Penal Substitution, as it reduces Jesus' pains to that of purely physical torments and physical death. This very reason is why the Reformed theologians never say this, and it's why John Calvin goes at pains to say the Cross would have amounted to nothing if Jesus endured a merely physical death and instead had to endure an invisible outpouring of wrath directly by the Father.

      "Fear not those who can kill the body and no more" says Our Lord to the Apostles. This is because man's powers are temporal and limited, so if the Romans were inflicting on Jesus the Father's Wrath, then at most Jesus suffered a physical death, not the eternal death that our sins required. In other words, Jesus could not have *substituted* himself. And to compound the problem, if Jesus dies a physical death in our place, then why do we still physically die?

      The Bible makes it clear that what the Romans did was completely wickedness on their own initiative, which is why God raised Him from the Dead, so that their wickedness would not win the day. This is the very teaching of every sermon Peter and Paul give in the book of Acts. Penal Substitution leaves no room for the Resurrection.

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    19. Nick,
      Here is the connection between the Father's wrath and Jesus' suffering:
      "Isaiah 53:4-6, 10, 11—"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all ... It was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin ... By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities."

      2 Corinthians 5:21—"For our sake He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

      Jesus suffered a physical death for sin and was separated from the Father on the cross when He said -My God, God why have You forsaken me? At this point His spirit (where He always had communion with the Father) was separated on the cross. Both conditions of death and punishment for sin was fulfilled on the cross.

      We still die a physical death because our final and complete redemption has not yet happened.

      Did God use the Romans and the Jewish leadership to condemn and crucify Christ or was Christ helpless against the Romans and Jewish leadership?

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    20. Meyu,

      My original challenge was to find a single Scriptural passage that said that “Jesus took on the wrath of God for us when He was on the cross.”

      I specified at the time, “I see plenty of places where it talks about the wrath of God for sin, about Jesus saving us from Hell, etc., but absolutely nothing about Jesus taking on the wrath of God for us when He was on the Cross.”

      Your initial response listed four verses that you claimed met this burden. I want you to explain to me how any of these verses does so:

      1) 1 Thes. 1:10, which says that Jesus saves us from the wrath to come. It says nothing about Him saving us by having the Father pour out His wrath upon Jesus instead. And the notion that this is necessary is obviously false. 1 Thes. 1:10 could just as easily say that Christ saves us from eternal damnation. Does that mean that He necessarily must do that by being eternally damned?

      2) 1 Thes. 5:9, which says that God didn’t destine us to wrath, but to salvation through Christ. This doesn’t remotely say that God poured out His wrath on Christ.

      3) Rom. 1:18, which talks about the wrath of God for sin. But that’s exactly the type of verse that I explained wouldn’t cut it.

      4) Rom. 8:1, which says that there is no condemnation for those in Christ. How does this say that God poured out His wrath on Christ?

      None of these four verses provides what I asked for. Can you defend how any of these verses say what you're claiming they say?

      I’ll get to your second round of verses next.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    21. Joe,
      I gave you more than you bargained for. Penal substitution is at the heart of the gospel. To deny it, is to deny the gospel and would bring you under the curse of Gal 1:8-9.

      On whom was the wrath of God poured out on the cross? What wrath is Paul referring to and to whom is the wrath directed to?

      Why did Jesus die? Why did He allow it and for what purpose?

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    22. Meyu,

      You can’t just keep claiming this without support. You need to be able to back this claim up with Scripture. If this is “at the heart of the Gospel,” why can’t you find any verses that say it? Show me how any of the four verses you initially pointed to say what you’re claiming.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    23. Joe,
      On whom was the wrath of God poured out on the cross? What wrath is Paul referring to and to whom is the wrath directed to?

      Is God's wrath against sinners?

      Delete
    24. Meyu,

      The whole point I’m making is that God’s wrath wasn’t poured out on the Cross. You’re starting and ending on the same false assumption … that God is so wrathful that He had to lash out at somebody, and it was just a question on who. That’s a false starting assumption, and nothing in Scripture talks about God pouring out His wrath on the Cross. Rather, Christ averted the wrath of God (a wrath otherwise directed towards us) through a beautiful act of self-sacrifice. For this reason, when God’s reaction to the Passion is described in Scripture, we’re treated to the exact opposite view of the one that you presuppose. Instead of the Father pouring out His wrath, He is described as delighted in His Son’s self-sacrifice.

      In your most earlier comment, you offer an absurd false choice: that we must either believe that the Father used the Roman and Jewish leadership “to condemn and crucify Christ” or that “Christ [was] helpless against the Romans and Jewish leadership.” Both of these choices are false, and both reduce Christ to an unwilling victim, of either His Father (who damns Him) or the leaders of the day. The Catholic view says that's false. Rather, Christ’s Atonement is efficacious precisely because Jesus willingly lays down His own life. Here’s what Jesus says in John 10:17-18,

      For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.”

      Notice, He doesn’t say, “For this reason the Father hates Me and damns Me to Hell.” He says, “For this reason the Father loves Me.” What’s that reason? The total self-gift of the Son on the Cross. Read Part II of this post, and you’ll see that’s exactly what I described.

      Look also at Philippians 2:6-11, that says that Christ, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

      Christ offers Himself up to a shameful death, and therefore God highly exalts Him, rather than your view, that God damns Him.

      All of these descriptions of the Passion are the same: the Son voluntarily and obediently offers up the most extreme self-gift for our sake, and the Father (rather than being wrathful towards His Son) is delighted by this offering of love. This is the exact opposite of the reaction of the Father in the penal substitution model (in which He is vengeful towards His Son), and yet it’s the way the Father’s reaction to the Passion is described every time in Scripture.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      Delete
    25. Joe,
      Jesus did not “avert the wrath of God (a wrath otherwise directed towards us) through a beautiful act of self-sacrifice ”. Rather the wrath of God killed Christ. Jesus took on the wrath of God for sin fully. We know also that He bore the sins of men and was punished for it.

      Jesus was no unwilling victim in His crucifixion. He allowed it because it was the Father’s will that He die for the sins of men. He could have backed out if He wanted to.

      If Christ had not willingly died in our place and rose again we would still be in our sins. Penal substation means that He took the place of punishment for the sins of men that they might not be punished in judgment for sin. Those who are punished for their sins in judgment will be condemned. Those who have trusted in Christ will not be judged again for sin since Christ has paid the price for sin in full. No longer is there a debt for sin to be paid by believers in Christ.

      Why did Christ at the cross cry out—My God My God, why have you forsaken me?

      Is there a payment for sin required by God?

      Delete
    26. Meyu,

      Re-read your first three paragraphs. Do you provide a single verse, or even Scriptural allusion, to justify any of these claims that you’re making? You’re responding to several Scriptural citations on my part, without (a) addressing the Scriptures I’m quoting, or (b) quoting Scriptures in response. Instead, we have Scripture on my side, and your unsupported claims on the other. Why would I ever take your claims over Scripture?

      In your fourth paragraph, you cite to Christ’s words on the Cross. He’s citing Psalm 22, which is an Old Testament prefigurement of the Crucifixion. Read Psalm 22, and you’ll see what I mean.

      How do you rectify your claim that “Jesus was no unwilling victim in His crucifixion,” with your claims that He was damned by the Father?

      I.X.,

      Joe

      Delete
    27. Joe,
      I could easily give you scriptural backup for what I wrote. Where do the Scriptures speak of Jesus "averting" i.e. turn away the wrath of God?

      Here is what Rom 8:3 says about God condemning Christ--"For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,"

      Jesus willing did the Father's will in going to the cross and being condemned for the sins of men in His flesh.

      Delete
  16. Mack:

    "The sermon on the mount has nothing to do with the gospel of salvation that Paul preached - Jesus Christ dying for our sins, see 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. "

    Exactly! Most Christians today follow the teaching of Paul not that of Jesus.

    Your debt analogy is faulty as someone DID pay the debt, but in Jesus' prayer are debts are FORGIVEN - as you rightly said, 'Forgiveness is not the same as payment.'

    Jesus taught about a God of forgiveness and mercy - quite a different religion from yours it seems...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Sermon on the Mount is all about the gospel of salvation. Paul and James for example allude to various statements in this great sermon in their writings.

      Delete
    2. Meyu,

      No you are incorrect about forgiveness and about the Sermon on the Mount. You must be honest with the scriptures, it does no good rehashing traditions like the Catholics do. You are attempting to read back into entire Bible what you learned from St. Paul's letters without recognizing that a fundamental shift occurred at Calvary.

      Christ spoke to no born again "Christians" at the Sermon on the Mount - he was speaking to Jews who were all still under the Old Testament law. The Sermon on the Mount (from the Beatitudes to the end of Matthew 7) says nothing about the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world, yet you claim it "is all about the gospel of salvation". If that is the case then you are saved by doing good works - which is precisely the reason why unsaved do-gooders who reject Paul's gospel love the Sermon on the Mount.

      The modern day "red-letter only" Ebionites (like "bloggingtheology") are heretics and you need to recognize their fallacy, not fall for it by claiming salvation is the same both before Calvary and after.

      You also erroneously state that forgiveness is only possible by the blood of Christ - yet God forgave Old Testament Jews many times. What he never did was make payment for the sins that were remitted - all those sins were held in abyance and paid at Calvary.

      Read Ezekiel 18:26-28 KJV, "26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. 27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. 28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die."

      That is the revealed Old Testament "plan of Salvation" and it says absolutely nothing in it about Jesus Christ dying for anybody's sins.

      You have to get the difference - redemption is not the same as forgiveness. Today, post-Calvary, we have redemption and forgiveness together - and that is what was reveled and preached by St. Paul which is the proper Church-Age gospel of salvation.

      - Mack

      Delete
    3. Mack,
      The sermon on the mount is how followers of Christ are to live in this world. To do that requires they have the Spirit of Christ that works in them. Only a man who has the Spirit of Christ in him can be poor in spirit, mourn over sin and seek after righteousness. Only a person who is born again i.e. those who have the Spirit of Christ in them can do so.

      On what basis did God in the OT forgive the people?

      Forgiveness is part of redemption.

      Jesus did indeed die for the sins of people: Hebrews 9
      26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
      27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
      28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

      Delete
  17. While not been a great fan of "Penal Substitution", I do have to say that point 3 has a flaw in it, that it is not consistent with the Apostles' Creed, which states that Christ descended into Hell. While this is a side point, it is one that opens a wide hole in the issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. James,

      Joe and others have written about the PROPER interpretation of Jesus descending into HADES but NOT Hell. Here is Joe's post on the matter:

      http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2012/03/is-christs-descent-into-hell-biblical.html

      Basically, Jesus went down to the Bosom of Abraham (mentioned in Luke 16), which was basically an "Upper Hades" (with Lower Hades being the place of fiery torment). The Luke 16 historical account (not parable) of Lazarus being carried to Upper Hades shows he was not in Heaven. So after Jesus died on Friday, Saturday He descended to rescue the Old Testament saints. There are a few Bibilcal other texts that also suggest this.

      John Calvin was so desperate to find proof that Jesus was damned to hellfire that he said the Apostles' Creed mentioning: "He was crucified, died, and was buridied. He descended into Hades" was the best proof. And yet clearly the Creed says this descent took place AFTER death and burial, again proving it was not connected to the Passion/Sufferings of Good Friday.

      Delete
    2. Even if the Church taught that Christ decended into the Hell of Satan and the damned WHICH IT NEVER HAS, point 3 still holds because He didn't suffer eternity there, which would be necessary for penal substitution.

      But the Fathers are very clear on what this means. Hades is used on purpose in the creed. Gehenna is spelled out in Greek letters in the NT when the place is meant where the fire is never quenched and the worm never dies, and though I don't know of a source to check how consistant that was in preNicea times, it would boggle the mind if they screwed this up.

      Delete
    3. revjamespbMarch 30, 2013 at 5:37 PM
      While not been a great fan of "Penal Substitution", I do have to say that point 3 has a flaw in it, that it is not consistent with the Apostles' Creed, which states that Christ descended into Hell. While this is a side point, it is one that opens a wide hole in the issue.


      Hm? I see the dilemma. Joe said:
      #3 It would seem to require Christ to be damned. …. But the notion that God can go to Hell is incompatible with everything we believe about Hell; the notion that God can damn God is incompatible with the Trinity and the innocence of Christ.

      The offending remark is, "But the notion that God can go to Hell is incompatible with everything we believe about Hell;" Am I correct?

      I believe you can disregard that sentence. It is Catholic Doctrine that God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. Nothing affects God. Without God, neither heaven, hell nor this world would exist.

      Therefore, without putting words in Joe's mouth, I believe he merely meant to emphasize that God can't be damned to hell for eternity (or at all for that matter). The hell of the damned is the lake of fire where the enemies of God reside in eternal punishment.

      Therefore, it is true that Jesus, God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, descended into hell and brought the righteous Jews out of there having opened for them the gates of heaven.

      I'm sure Joe will correct me if he thinks I'm wrong.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

      Delete
  18. Hi Joe... I'd just like to ask a couple of questions brewing in my head thanks to a couple of vitriolic atheists on facebook.

    1.) How do I respond to the following: "Jesus died, and rose from the dead. Jesus doesn't gain anything, God doesn't gain anything, and you certainly don't gain anything" ?
    2.) They reason that, granted, Jesus died for the sins of humanity. But that makes us bad people because we have blood on our hands. We didn't ask Jesus to die for us. We don't ask anyone to die for us. How do we respond to this?

    I understand that this is the standard atheistic misinterpretation of doctrine - the very kind I visit this page often for enlightenment on the subject. But how exactly are we to defend ourselves from doubt, using only reason and not relying too much on Sacred Scripture or Tradition?

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Felix,

      I don't know about Joe, but I was an atheist for about oh…15-20 years. So, perhaps I can give an answer.

      felixleoMarch 31, 2013 at 9:48 AM
      Hi Joe... I'd just like to ask a couple of questions brewing in my head thanks to a couple of vitriolic atheists on facebook.

      1.) How do I respond to the following: "Jesus died, and rose from the dead. Jesus doesn't gain anything, God doesn't gain anything,


      That is absolutely true. By definition, God is omniscient, omnipresent and absolute. Therefore, He doesn't gain anything by His merciful actions towards us.

      and you certainly don't gain anything" ?

      Sure we do. By God's mercy, we now have been given entrance into heaven, if we obey Him:
      Hebrews 5:9
      And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

      2.) They reason that, granted, Jesus died for the sins of humanity.

      So far so good.

      But that makes us bad people because we have blood on our hands.

      No. We became "bad" people, prone to sin when Adam committed the first transgression against the love of God. It is called the Original Sin and by committing this sin, Adam lost the Original Justice in which he was created by God.

      We didn't ask Jesus to die for us.

      True. He did it because of His mercy.

      We don't ask anyone to die for us.

      Sometimes we do. But more frequently, people give their lives for the ones they love.

      How do we respond to this?

      1. You don't have to.
      2. But if you feel like it, remember that atheists, I know from experience because I was one, do not really care whether you have a response or not. They normally want to simply get under your skin.
      3. If you find a reasonable atheist, then simply say that Jesus died for us because He loves us. And the Father sent Him to this earth to save us because He also loves us. Its that simple.

      I understand that this is the standard atheistic misinterpretation of doctrine - the very kind I visit this page often for enlightenment on the subject. But how exactly are we to defend ourselves from doubt, using only reason and not relying too much on Sacred Scripture or Tradition?

      Reason? No. Using faith. There are things which natural reason can't penetrate. But faith is supernatural reason and superior to natural reason in every way.

      Anyway, that's my opinion.

      I hope it helps.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

      Delete
  19. Meyu -

    Will you admit that your penal substitution theory (Jesus took on the wrath of God for our sins) is merely implied from scripture and not specifically stated? The verses you site make no direct claim that Jesus took on the wrath of God for our sins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. It is clear from
      Isaiah 53:5 says "He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities"
      Isaiah 53:6 says "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all"
      Isaiah 53:10 says "It was the will of the Lord to bruise him, to put him to grief"
      Romans 5:9
      2 Cor 5:21
      that Christ literally took on the wrath of God for our sins.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. meyu -

      The scripture you quoted does not say "Jesus took on the wrath of God for our sins." Will you admit the words I have in quotes do not exist in scripture as a single sentence? Once you admit this fact, we can move forward with your exegesis.

      Delete
    4. “…this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

      This propitiation took place on the cross where God laid our sins on Christ and God punished Christ for our sins. By doing so, we would not be punished for our sins since Christ took the punishment for us in our place.

      "Christ is the propitiation which supplies the method of deliverance from our sin and, being reconciled to God, we are acceptable for fellowship with God.
      Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G2434). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

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    5. meyu -

      You didn't answer my question. Once again, will you admit that there is no scripture that says this exact phrase (translated to English of course) in a single sentence: "Jesus took on the wrath of God for our sins." It seems like you are avoiding this question. I do not believe the sentence in quotes above exists in scripture.

      Delete
  20. Hey Joey,

    Don't beat yourself up just because the scriptures I post are unanswerable. I know that you have nothing to say in response, and I know that it's your blog, so please realize I don't take any offense at all that you keep deleting my comments.

    I understand and I feel for you.

    Carry on.

    - Mack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mack,


      Can you point to any comment of yours that I’ve ever deleted?

      For that matter, could you have written a more condescending, snarky, unchristian comment? And on Easter Sunday, no less! It apparently hasn’t occurred to you that the problem is that my spam filter can’t tell your vitriol from spam. Next time, try to be a bit more charitable in your assumptions.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      Delete
  21. Meyu, two questions for you if you don't mind giving two answers: did Jesus redirect all of the Father's wrath onto himself or did he only receive the wrath that would have been directed on the saved? Was Christ's work on the cross satisfactory for the Father? Yes or no on the second question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Daniel--Christ took on the full wrath for sin for the elect unto Himself. He paid the debt in full as Col 2:13-14 tells us.

      Yes to the 2nd question.

      Delete
    2. If I am not elect, then Christ did not take on the wrath that I will receive.

      No matter what decision I make today, the wrath is either waiting on me here in the near future or poured out on Christ 2000 years ago.

      If Christ did not take on the wrath for me, then no behavior that I do can effect my salvation from the wrath.

      If christ did not take that wrath for me, I cannot be saved no matter what.



      Delete
    3. If Christ's work on the cross was satisfactory for the Father, was the Father satisified by the work?

      Delete
    4. Daniel,
      The Father was not just satisfied with the work of Christ but well pleased in His life. See Matt 3:17 and 17:5. We also know that He was pleased with His work on the cross because He raised Him from the dead.

      Delete
    5. Christ's work on the cross was satisfactory to the Father but yet the Father wasn't satisifed?

      Well that doesn't satisfy me. God cannot refuse to be satisfied by what is, in His judgement, satisfactory. That would require a defect in His faculty to judge what is satisfactory.

      You didn't address my response to your reply to my first question. By the extra time you are taking with it, I hope it's better than your answer on satisfaction.

      Delete
  22. I just finished a new quick article revealing another problem with Penal Substitution. The Protestant apologetics site Got Questions captures the heart of the problem:

    "Jesus’ resurrection proved that His death was accepted by God as the atonement for our sins. If He had simply died and stayed dead, that would indicate His sacrifice was not sufficient."

    What's wrong with this picture? In the Penal Substitution model, Jesus dies *precisely* as a result of the Father's wrath being vented on Him. Jesus' death is proof that the Father's justice was satisfied and atonement was made. The whole notion that the Resurrection is "proof of acceptance" by God of Jesus' sacrifice has it exactly backwards and reveals some unintentional cognitive dissonance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nick,
      I'm confused. How is "The whole notion that the Resurrection is "proof of acceptance" by God of Jesus' sacrifice has it exactly backwards and reveals some unintentional cognitive dissonance"?

      Delete
    2. Who killed Jesus? The Father. And in killing Jesus, that's how the Father's justice was satisfied and atonement made. The Father doesn't need to Resurrect Jesus as proof that the Father accepted the sacrifice because the fact Jesus died is proof enough.

      Now that I think about it, to say the Father was the one venting the wrath and killing Jesus would make the Father High Priest rather than Jesus, and that's yet another error of Psub.

      Delete
    3. It is true that the Father killed Christ because He "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf" (2 Cor 5:21). In Jesus, the Father punished Christ for our sins because our sins were accounted to Him (Is 53:5). See also Rom 5:6-11.

      God's wrath is on sinners. See John 3:36 and Col 3:6

      It is because of the perfect sacrifice of Christ that He is now the perfect High Priest Who alone intercedes before the Father for us. See Heb 4:14-16

      Delete
    4. How is Jesus the High Priest when it was the Father that did the slaughtering of the Lamb?

      Delete
    5. Jesus was fulfilling His role as high priest in His life and ministry. Hebrews 5:7-10 speaks to this where it says:
      7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.
      8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
      9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,
      10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

      Delete
    6. That Hebrews 6:7-10 text sounds like the exact opposite of PSub to me!
      I don't see anything here about the Father dumping His wrath or doing the slaughtering.

      Delete
    7. What suffering did Jesus go through? What was the purpose of His sacrifice and how was it accomplished?

      Here is what Jesus did in regards to sin:
      11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;
      12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,
      13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.
      14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:11-14

      Delete
    8. Jesus endured physical suffering at the hands of men but not spiritual suffering (i.e. from God). The purpose of His Sacrifice was to offer up a life of perfect love and obedience (cf Prov 16:4a).

      I'm not sure why you're quoting Hebrews in support of Penal Substitution though, because that book is the furthest thing from PSub, especially since the Levitical Sacrifices which it calls upon didn't operate in a PSub framework.

      Delete
    9. Did Jesus suffer for sin? Was He a sacrifice for sin?

      Delete
    10. How could Jesus suffer for sin if He never sinned?

      Delete
    11. He could suffer for the sake of others.
      "it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. ... if you suffer [persecution] for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God." (1 Pt 2:18ff)

      How could Jesus die if He was sinless? Protestants cannot answer that since Jesus had a sinless nature and Adam's immortality was tied to his sinless nature.

      Delete
    12. Jesus in His life was sinless but when the Father put the sins of all believers on Him He became sin.
      He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor 5:21

      but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, Heb 10:12

      Jesus allowed Himself to die--“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” John 10:17-18

      Delete
    13. Meyu,

      What do you think it means to say that Christ became sin?

      I.X.,

      Joe

      Delete
    14. It means that God imputed to Christ all our sins and the Father treated Him as if He were guilty of all the sins believers would commit though He committed none.

      Delete
    15. Dear Joe,

      Would you say what your view of Christ's becoming sin is? This seems to relate to Romans 8:3 says about God "sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin" and that in doing so God "condemned sin in the flesh."

      (For the record, I think the penal substitution view can't be right and that the satisfaction model makes good sense. I'd just like to know how to square with it these verses that meyu mentions.

      In Christ,

      David

      Delete
    16. David,

      I’m glad you asked (in part because I thought that I’d already posted an explanation on this, and now realize that it got deleted before I finished it).

      This phrase, “becoming sin,” is a reference to something (or in this case, Someone) becoming a sin offering. Aquinas offers three explanations of this phrase. I think that the most applicable is the first one, that “it was the custom of the Old Law to call a sacrifice for sin ‘sin.’” He gives the example of Hosea 4:8, but it’s easy to establish this point from looking at the Old Testament as a whole. The same word, chatta'ath, was translated in the KJV as “sin” 182 times, but as “sin offering” 116 times. Twice, this word is translated as “purification from sin.” So Christ “is made ‘sin’” in the sense that He becomes the “sin offering” that purifies us from sin.

      So Christ became sin, in the sense that He became the sin offering, not sin itself. There’s a world of difference between those two things: they’re opposites, in fact.

      The question then ought to be did God hate the sin offering? The answer is no. In Leviticus 4, where the sin offering system is established, it is dictated that the animal has to be “without blemish” (Lev. 4:3, 23, 28, 32). As with the Passover Lamb, this spotlessness prefigured the sinlessness of Christ. But if the bull or lamb is going to be treated as impure, why dictate that it actually be unblemished?

      In fact, in Ezekiel 42:13 the sin offering is listed (along with the cereal offering and the guilt offering) as “the most holy offerings.” Obviously, Scripture isn’t saying that sin is holy. It’s saying that a sin offering isn’t literally sin, nor is it treated as sin by God. It’s treated as holy by God, and as atonement for sin.

      That’s what we’re saying about Christ. The penal substitution view badly misunderstands the Jewish sacrificial system, particularly how the sin offering and guilt offering were viewed.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      Delete
  23. That site is screwed up. I've asked repeatedly for evidence in history of a church that even comes close to the Protestant position and they have never produced any historical evidence (nor can they). What do they do? They avoid answering my question with real evidence that would help prove their position. One is left with the glaring conclusion that Christ failed with Rome because Rome and the Reformation are not compatible and the only Church that historically lasted from Pentecost until the Reformation was Rome (and till this day). At least have the guts to admit that Rome failed and there is no other church in hisotry that lasted from Pentecost until the Reformation. Of course, once you do that you run smack dab down the Mormonism rabbit hole and defy the words of Christ and his protections to a physical, earthly Church!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Let me see if I can describe the difference between the Catholic and Protestant positions on the atonement.

    Protestants believe that the Father said to His Son, "I hate you, die you sinner! Die in painful agony!"

    The Catholic believes that the Father said to His only begotten Son, "They can't do it Son, but I love them. They can't handle it. You'll have to do it for them. "

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

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    Replies
    1. If what you say is true--"the Father said to His only begotten Son, "They can't do it Son, but I love them. They can't handle it. You'll have to do it for them. " then why did Jesus say--"“MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”

      Why did Christ have to suffer such a horrible painful death? Why not just let Him die by a heart attack?

      Delete
    2. Meyu,

      You asked: "then why did Jesus say"

      Exactly! If you're asking "why," that shows the text does not clearly say the Father's wrath was poured out but rather that you must assume that and take it as the best interpretation.

      Jesus was intoning Psalm 22:
      "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?"

      Notice that "abandon" here is explicitly shown to mean "not coming to save me" from my enemies! It's not God abandoning a soul to hell. Look at how Psalm 22 perfectly describes the plain teachings of the Gospel accounts:

      "7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
      8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

      "16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me;
      they have pierced my hands and feet
      17 I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me;
      18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."

      "23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
      24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted,
      and he [God] has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him."

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    3. >why did Jesus say--"“MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”

      This has already been answered above.

      While I'm here, I'd like to bring up something.

      A while ago when we were talking about the Papacy, you criticized the Catholic belief because we don't find a full and explicit declaration of the doctrine in the First Century. I asked you for historical evidence of your own beliefs (e.g. Eucharist and Baptism), but you refused to answer, saying that each doctrine must be judged on its own merits. I still dispute that claim and think that inconsistency is a sign of a failed argument, but since we're now talking about a new doctrine...

      What evidence can you present from the First Century that Penal Substitution was believed by Christians? If this doctrine is essentially the heart of the Gospel we should see lots of proof for it, right?

      Delete
    4. Nick,
      What was the point of Jesus dying on the cross? Why did Christ die on a cross etc and not by some other less violent way?

      Secondly, why did the Father abandon Jesus on the cross?

      Delete
    5. Restless,
      I don't understand the comment Joe gave in regards to why the Father forsook Christ on the Cross. What I do understand is that is Christ in a sense became sin and that is why the Father forsook Him. That makes perfect sense in light of the judgement of sin. Its also a glimpse of hell where God does forsake those there.

      Good question on your last part. Have not studied that to deeply. I would think the fathers understood it. What do you think?

      Delete
    6. >Good question on your last part. Have not studied that to deeply. I would think the fathers understood it. What do you think?

      I don't think you'll find support among the Early Church Fathers for Penal Substitution.

      (This puts you in a far worse position than the Catholic belief in the Papacy. At least we could show the early honour given to Rome (Ignatius) and the importance of Rome and her interference in the matters of other congregations (Clement). We could also show continuity with later generations (Irenaeus etc) when Papal power was spelled out more explicitly)

      So...if we can't find explicit support for Penal Substitution in the First Century, wouldn't your standard demand that we reject the doctrine?

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    7. We already know the Scripture teaches penal substitution. Now you claim to be an expert of sorts on the fathers. What do they say about the ramifications of the death of Christ? What do they say about how Jesus died for sin?

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    8. >We already know the Scripture teaches penal substitution

      Well, given that we're having this conversation, clearly we don't!


      >Now you claim to be an expert of sorts on the fathers.

      Woah, woah...I'm using your standard. I thought you said history was important?

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    9. ...and, just so we know where we stand, do you regard yourself as an expert in the Bible?

      Delete
    10. Why did Christ die?

      Your the one who asked about how the early church. Can't you tell me what the fathers said about they said about the ramifications of the death of Christ? What do they say about how Jesus died for sin?

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    11. Meyu, A) that we are sinners B) in need of protecting from C) the Father's wrath is not in dispute.

      Are we protected because D)Christ jumped in front of that wrath like a Secret Service agent or are we protected because E) Christ made a way for the Father to extend us His unwarranted love and mercy?

      Every verse you have quoted has proven B or C.

      We are asking if it's D or E.

      I know it's not D because it messes up the nature of the Trinity that I detailed on a different comment.

      If you have a Scripture that goes beyond B and C and either affirms D or denies E, I would love to hear it.

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    12. > Your the one who asked about how the early church.

      Yeah, because I thought this might be a good opportunity to test to see if you are indeed consistent in your theology, or if it devolves to special pleading when needed. So, I want to apply your standard to this doctrine and see how it holds up. Does that sound fair?


      Can't you tell me what the fathers said about they said about the ramifications of the death of Christ? What do they say about how Jesus died for sin?

      I can, but it's tempting to just point you to the Catechism of the Catholic Church since it'll just say the same thing.

      Since you haven't read any of the Fathers, lets just say, for the sake of argument, that I'm right. Let's say that there is no First Century evidence for Penal Substitution. Would that disprove the doctrine according to your standard?

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    13. Ok. I get it that you don't know the fathers well enough to answer what they thought about penal substitution. If there was no First Century evidence for Penal Substitution it would not disprove the doctrine because this is what the apostles taught. (see scripture).

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    14. Daniel,
      Why would it not be D because " it messes up the nature of the Trinity"? Why would Christ willingly to take on the full wrath of God for our sins mess up the nature of the Trinity?

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    15. Meyu,

      http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2013/03/how-does-good-friday-work-exactly.html?showComment=1364937301157&m=1#c2005207595099137421

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    16. Meyu,

      Treating Restless Pilgrim like he’s an idiot won’t get you anywhere. He undoubtedly knows the Church Fathers far better than you do (as you would learn from reading his own blog with even a somewhat open mind and heart). If you’re descending into ad hominem attacks and premature declarations of your own victory, it’s only because you don’t have an argument to stand on. If you did, I imagine that you would present it.

      I do have to thank you for finally answering his question: “If there was no First Century evidence for Penal Substitution it would not disprove the doctrine because this is what the apostles taught. (see scripture).”

      Of course, penal substitution isn’t explicitly in Scripture. You read certain passages as suggesting it, while most Christians (in fact, the overwhelming majority throughout history) haven’t read those passages that way. So it’s not a question of whether we should go with Scripture or the early Christians. It’s whether you or the earliest students of the Apostles understand Scripture and the teachings of the Apostles better. On what grounds do you conclude that it’s you?

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    17. I have no reason to think he knows the church fathers well. I gave him an opportunity to show what he knows and he showed nothing.
      Penal substitution is explicitly taught in Scripture. The basis for the doctrine is found in:
      Isaiah 53:4-6, 10, 11—"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all ... It was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin ... By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities." (RSV)
      Romans 3:23-26—"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus." (NRSV)
      2 Corinthians 5:21—"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (RSV)
      Galatians 3:10, 13—"All who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.' ... Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, 'Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree.'" (RSV)
      1 Peter 2:24—"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness."(RSV)
      1 Peter 3:18—"For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God." (RSV)

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    18. Meyu,

      None of those passages talk about the Father hating the Son, or pouring out His wrath upon the Son, or anything of the sort. You read that into them, and based on misunderstanding the texts. For example, as I just explained above, texts about Christ “becoming sin” like 2 Corinthians 5:21 prove the opposite of what you suggest, because they’re referring to Him becoming a holy “sin offering.”

      But rather than argue exegesis, will you at least concede that none of these explicitly lays out penal substitution? That you’re still doing exegesis and textual interpretation to arrive at your conclusion?

      And if not, if the case for penal substitution is really as clear-cut as you’re claiming, that anyone who reads these texts will say, “Oh, the Father damned the Son!”, can you show me even one early Christian who read them this way? And if not, why not? Shouldn’t someone in the first millennium of Christianity have noticed an explicit text like the ones that you’re claiming to have found?

      I don’t think you realize the extent of what you’re claiming. You’ve described this as at the heart of the Gospel. By your account of history, the Gospel essentially failed immediately, to be replaced by a false Gospel that used the same Bible. If that’s true, using the test laid out by Gamaliel in Acts 5, it would prove Jesus to be a false prophet, and His Church a merely human endeavor. Needless to say, that shows a gaping problem in your atonement theology, as well as in your understanding of Church history.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    19. Goddamned Jesus Christ...a phrase that is either blasphemous or Gospel.

      Which one meyu?

      (My vote is blasphemy.)

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    20. Daniel,
      What should we make of "For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh," Rom 8:3?

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    21. Joe,
      You do not understand penal substitution nor the Scripture that well. You made errors in your article above such as:
      1 "It means that God isn’t just. Wrath for the wicked is just, but wrath for the innocent is unjust."
      No one is innocent. All have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). There mere fact your church believes in original sin and baptizes infants shows none are innocent.

      2"It means that God isn’t all-good."
      God is good. When God punishes, He gives men justice. He gives them what they deserve.

      3 "It would seem to require Christ to be damned. If the Atonement is about the outpouring out of God’s “unending active wrath” upon His Son, this would seem to require the damnation of Christ."
      Because Jesus was God incarnate and infinite, He could take on the full wrath without it going on for eternity. A finite would be punished forever.

      4 "It makes no sense of the Trinity...Penal substitution introduces a rupture into the Trinity, in which there’s a divorce between the Father and the Son."
      This is exactly what happened on the cross. That is why Jesus cried out "My God, My God why have you forsaken me". The relationship that the Son had with the Father was ruptured that day.

      5 "It reduces Christianity to human sacrifice."
      What Christ did for us was a sacrifice for sin. "..but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." Heb 10:12-14.

      6 "It doesn’t require repentance."
      Believers are still to repent. Penal substitution did not do away with repentance on the part of believers. They are still to turn from there sin which is repentance.

      So long as you hold to the points you made in your article you will not understand penal substitution.

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    22. > Treating Restless Pilgrim like he’s an idiot won’t get you anywhere. He undoubtedly knows the Church Fathers far better than you do

      Awh, thanks for defending my honour Joe. I always knew my excessive humility would get me into trouble ;-)


      > If you’re descending into ad hominem attacks and premature declarations of your own victory, it’s only because you don’t have an argument to stand on. If you did, I imagine that you would present it.

      I was actually going to let the ad hominem slide since I finally got what I wanted: Meyu's admission that it doesn't matter what history says, if it conflicts with his interpretation of Scripture then it can just be ignored. Even if the Gospel (as he understands it) finds no support whatsoever in the Early Church it can just be brushed aside. It rather makes his assertion that "history matters" sound rather hollow...

      Meyu, do you see the double standard? What you demanded of the Papacy, you don't demand for your own beliefs; your own doctrine fails your own standard for historical truth.

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  25. Great question restless Pilgrim! I have yet to find any P provide historical evidence for their doctrines. Most Ps (my former self included) just assumed all of the doctrines such as sola fide, sola scriptura, the Eucharist is merely a symbol, baptism does not wash away sin, there is no physical Church on earth created by Christ, etc., were the norm. When you scratch the surface of these topics you find very quickly that there is NO historical evidence for these positions and yet they are touted as being so obvious. They aren't obvious for a reason because the Reformation was a theological novum. I'm also surprised that most Ps don't see they're making up their own church as they go along just as Joseph Smith did (but at least the Mormons admit church failure and thereafter claim new revelation to cure the failure problem).

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    1. How does water itself wash away sin? You should check out the discussion on the papacy that Joe wrote about. It didn't go well for the Roman Catholics.

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    2. It's not going well at all. We asked Meyu to tell us what standard of evidence we would have to meet before he would accept our interpretation of the papacy as being the belief of the early Church.

      Meyu says, Show me the evidence first and then I will choose a standard to judge it.

      There's actually more to the story.

      We said there was a catch: whatever standard of evidence he chose for the early fathers, he would have to abide by for his doctrine.

      So meyu is engaging not in debate per se but ignoring our pointed questions, refusing to set a standard of evidence, and then declaring victory because we haven't yet thoroughly presented our side.

      It would be comical if theology wasn't a topic where souls are at stake.

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    3. You never came back with any evidence for a papacy in the first century so how could I judge it?

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    4. Announce your standard and I'll post more evidence than you'll bother to read. Just not today.

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    5. Here is how Joe and I approached how to do history and how it would apply to the history of the papacy. I asked "If someone were to make the claim that a particular person was president of the US in 1743 what kind of evidence would you need to determine if this claim were true or not?"


      Here is part of his response-
      "A: The First Approach
      For that sort of historical trivia, my first inclination would be to rely upon existing histories. But if there was a dispute over whomever (if anyone) was president in 1743, I’d want to look to contemporary and near-contemporary sources, as well as to legal documents. Secondary sources (i.e., colonial histories) would be helpful, but primarily because they would point to the relevant primary source documents."
      http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2013/03/how-does-good-friday-work-exactly.html?showComment=1364606609720#c1000072852798469781

      These are the same kinds of questions-issues that apply to the papacy in the 1st century. These questions are a good place to start.

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    6. Are you endorsing that view? That I only need to find a primary document that shows that bishops were the ultimate authority, and that the bishop of rome had authority over the church that was beyond the city of Rome?

      Wait wait wait...

      Let me rephrase the question.

      If I could show from very close to the 1st century there are primary sources that speak of bishops being the final authority on Earth over the faithful, would you concede that bishops do have this authority?

      If I show primary sources indicating that Rome had authority to exercise jurisdiction outside of Rome, would you accept that the See of Rome had authority to exercise jurisdiction beyond Rome?

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    7. Remember: were trying to see if there was a papacy in the first century. The question is not that bishops had authority (they did) but that there was one bishop that had authority over the entire church in the 1st century.

      If Rome had "jurisdiction beyond Rome" that would indicate she had jurisdiction beyond Rome. It would not necessarily mean that there was one bishop in Rome that had this power. For example, was there only one bishop of Rome or were there a number of bishops given how large the city was?

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    8. meyu -

      Assume the Papacy is wrong. Are you going to convert to Eastern Orthodox? Their liturgy/beliefs are sacerdotal, Protestantism is not. Their liturgy/beliefs have historical support. Protestantism has no historical support.

      Do you not see the problem with sola scriptura in this post? You are interpreting scripture to come to the conclusion that "Jesus took on the wrath of God for our sins" and yet nowhere in scipture are those exact words stated in a single sentence. When you go back to scripture as the only authority it does not resolve the dispute about who is correct about the interpretation of scripture. Scripture doesn't interpret itself.

      Will you at least admit that Rome failed in its sacerdotal theology? Once you do that (which I suspect you want to) you run smack dab into the words of Jesus agreeing to protect his church and then you have vacuum in history for 1,400 years (just like Mormonism).

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    9. Meyu,

      "There is a letter in which this same Clement writing toJames the Lord's brother, gives an account of the death ofPeter, and says that he has left him as his successor, as ruler and teacher of the church; and further incorporates a whole scheme of ecclesiastical government. This I have not prefixed to the work, both because it is later in point oftime, and because it has been previously translated and published by me. Nevertheless, there is a point which would perhaps seem inconsistent with facts were I to place the translation of it in this work, but which I do not consider to involve an impossibility. It is this. Linus andCletus were Bishops of the city of Rome before Clement. How then, some men ask, can Clement in his letter toJames say that Peter passed over to him his position as a church-teacher. The explanation of this point, as I understand, is as follows. Linus and Cletus were, nodoubt, Bishops in the city of Rome before Clement, but this was in Peter's life-time; that is, they took charge of theepiscopal work, while he discharged the duties of theapostolate. He is known to have done the same thing atCæsarea; for there, though he was himself on the spot, yet he had at his side Zacchæus whom he had ordained asBishop. Thus we may see how both things may be true; namely how they stand as predecessors of Clement in the list of Bishops, and yet how Clement after the death ofPeter became his successor in the teacher's chair. But it istime that we should pay attention to the beginning ofClement's own narrative, which he addresses to Jamesthe Lord's brother."--Rufinus of Aquila (born c.340 died 410)

      So this was written most likely before Carthage and Hippo, so you've got two options:

      The Church was just as Catholic back then as it is now, so it was a corrupted counterfeit church that settled the NT canon. (Carthage determined NT canon is a fact asserted by Dr. Etzel and Dr. Guettierez at Liberty University in their book Praxis and is required reading for ALL students at the college via the mandatory Theology 104 class.) So might as well toss out books like Martin Luther did with his NT.

      Or...

      The Catholic Church is exactly who it says it is. At minimum, diligent inquiry to check out the possibility that she's right.

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    10. And I would add that even if Rufinus fell for a Clemintine forgery it would still be strong evidence that he early Church believed the papacy to exist.

      If I trick someone into buying a fake moonrock, that's good evidence the buyer believes the moon exists and it's made of rock.

      Delete
  26. A reasoned proof on penal substitution:

    If someone angers me so that I am filled with wrath, I can release that wrath in multiple ways. I can bang my fist on the table, for example. Or I can punch the wall. Or I can do something else. It is possible to have the same amount of wrath when punching the wall as it takes to bang one's fist on the table. Which is to say the quantity of wrath is not determined by the object that the wrath gets released on, but rather the subject who instigated the wrath.

    In one scenario, a person's wrath is provoked by a man and he strikes him thereby releasing his wrath.

    In another scenario, a person's wrath is provoked and a third man jumps in front of the fist right before it made impact with the intended target.

    In another scenario, a person's wrath is provoked but he grants mercy on the man and doesn't punch him.

    Which scenario had a person provoked to wrath that has more mercy? Obviously the third.

    So in the Trinity, who has more glory, the Father or the Son? They are equal in glory. Who has more power? They are equal in power. Who has more majesty? They are equal in majesty. Who has more mercy? They are equal in mercy.

    But if the Father is moved to wrath at me, and Jesus shows mercy by stepping into the blow to absorb the Father's wrath, then the Son has shown more mercy than the Father and this cannot be so, q.e.d.

    Instead, Christ by His love mollifies the Father's wrath, so that Christ shows mercy by His voluntary sacrifice to satisfy the Father, and the Father recipricates that mercy by being satisified in His Son's satisfactory work on the cross.



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  27. I'm WAAAYYY late to this discussion, but there is a third way that hasn't been discussed (based on my word search of the comment box). What do you think about the Christus Victor understanding of Christ's death?

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  28. Hi cwdlaw223,
    Thought you abandoned the ship. Where did Jesus promise to protect the church from error? The fact is that He and His apostles warned that false teachers would come into the church and deceive many. See Matt 24:5; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Peter 2:1-3 and Rev 2:14,20. If Jesus promised to protect the church from error then these warnings would be unnecessary. Agreed?

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    Replies
    1. Meyu,

      Where do we see Christ promise the Church infallibility? In several places. For example, Jesus promises His infallibility in sending the seventy to proclaim the Gospel with His authority, saying (in Luke 10:16) “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Furthermore, in describing the Church as Himself, He ensures Her divine protection from error. In the passage I just referenced (Acts 9:1-6), Jesus directly intervenes from Heaven to stop Saul from destroying the Church, describing the Church as Himself in the process.

      Saul was “violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it” (Galatians 1:13). While “still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1-2), he planned to hunt down Christians in Damascus. En route, he is overwhelmed by a heavenly light, and a voice from Heaven asking, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). Saul responds (v. 5), “Who are you, Lord?” Christ answers (v. 6), “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” In that short dialogue, Jesus twice described persecution of the Church as persecution of Himself. So to accuse the Church of falling into heresy or error of any sort would be to suggest that Jesus was capable of heresy or error, or that Jesus abandoned His Bride in Her hour of need.

      At the Last Supper, Christ specifically promises that this will never happen (John 14:18): “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.” He ties the life of the Church to His own life, saying “because I live, you will live also,” and “you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:19-20). Beyond promising His own perpetual protection, Christ also provides for His Bride by sending the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth,” to protect Her from falsehood.

      And He specifically promises that the Holy Spirit will remain with the Church forever (John 14:16-17): “And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.”

      He then ties the witness of “the Spirit of Truth” to the witness that will be offered by the Apostles (Jn. 15:26-27): “But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.” Finally, Jesus explicitly promises that the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of truth, will lead us into the fullness of truth (Jn. 16:13): “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

      (cont.)

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    2. So we have been promised that the Church remains in Christ, and Christ in the Church. And we’ve been promised that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, to lead the Church into all truth, and to remain with Her forever.

      It’s for this reason that the Church feels comfortable, from the very beginning, speaking on behalf of the Holy Spirit. In their letter to the Gentile believers, the Council of Jerusalem writes (Acts 15:28), “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.”

      This perpetual indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the Church is one reason that the Oneness of the Church is so important. Precisely because God is One, the Church should be One; Her life must reflect “the unity of the Spirit.” St. Paul reminds the Ephesians of this calling (Ephesians 4:3-5), begging them “to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” since there “is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.”

      Of course, the infallibility of the Church doesn’t prevent specific members from falling into heresy. The Body is alive, but it may have cells that die and fall off. But the Body will never die: as Christ promises the Church in Matthew 16:17-19, “the gates of Hell will not prevail.”

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. There is a reason that all of the Scriptures you find about apostasy refer to “some” or “many” falling away, rather than the Church being destroyed.

      A few more Scriptures to consider (and there are several more, but hopefully, this is enough for you to see the writing on the wall). In describing the Kingdom of God as a mustard seed that will grow from the tiniest of seeds to the largest of plants (Matthew 31-32), Jesus is describing the role of the Church in history, going from a handful of Disciples to over a billion members. And throughout His parables, the true seed always bears fruit (see Mt. 13:23). To say that Christ planted a Church and that it didn’t bear fruit, but died out is to indict Christ.

      That’s not just my reading: that’s also the test laid out in Acts 5:38-39, “if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.” To suggest that the Church failed is to suggest that the Apostolic Church wasn’t founded by Jesus Christ, or that Jesus Christ isn’t “of God.” Finally, what’s the last thing that Jesus says to the Apostles in St. Matthew’s Gospel? See Matthew 28:19-21, and focus specifically on the meaning of the last eleven words or so.

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    3. Joe,
      You are making a lot of assumptions here. You did not even engage the passages that warn of false teachers coming into the church and deceiving many. You are taking Luke 10:16 out of context. That is not about the church but about Christ sending out the 70 to prepare the way for Him.
      If John 14:16–17 applies to your church how was it possible for your leaders to do such great evil as in the inquisitions and the evil popes if the HS is leading? How could the HS being guiding your church when so many of its leaders are guilty of scandal? These are failures and is evidence that this is not the church Christ founded.

      Lets focus on the first part of verse 20--" teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you". Where did Jesus teach about the Marian dogmas, indulgences and purgatory to name a few? The fact is that He never did nor did His apostles. So this promise does not apply to your church.

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    4. Meyu,

      (1) I did engage those passages: I pointed out that there’s nothing inconsistent about saying that (a) false teachers will come in and deceive many, and (b) the Church will never fall into heresy. There’s no inconsistency there at all. As I said before, “There is a reason that all of the Scriptures you find about apostasy refer to ‘some’ or ‘many’ falling away, rather than the Church being destroyed.” A living Body may have dead or dying cells. Does that mean that the Body is not alive?

      (2) “How could the HS being guiding your church when so many of its leaders are guilty of scandal?” Are you familiar with Judas, who was one of the Twelve? Or Peter, or any of the other often scandalous Apostles of the Church founded by Jesus Christ? Scandalous leadership has been an element of the Church from Her earliest days precisely because the Church is human as well as Divine, and has sinful human members. If the Church included only sinless members, you and I wouldn’t be welcome.

      Besides that, Christ explicitly says in Matthew 13 that the Kingdom of God is like a net containing both good fish and bad. So to suggest that the Church founded by Christ must contain only the saved is to put yourself above Christ.

      (3) I’m not going to let this derail into side-discussions about “the Marian dogmas, indulgences and purgatory.” For now, suffice it to say that John 14:20 never says that the Church is bound to teach only those things that are explicitly mentioned in the saying of Jesus in the Bible. Every denomination on Earth goes beyond those things, as do the New Testament authors.

      In any case, you seem to be bringing up these side issues evasively. You’ve addressed exactly two of the passages that I cited above, and you haven’t even shown how you can get out of the second one, John 14:16-17. So let’s actually talk about the original issue you asked about, the infallibility of the Church. You didn’t see this in Scripture, I gave you a lot of Scriptural references that show it clearly. I think you owe it to yourself to take these Biblical passages a whole lot more seriously than you appear to be doing.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    5. Joe,
      You said your church was promised by Christ to be infallible. That means it cannot teach error. I pointed out various passages this is not the case at all. Any church can teach error.

      You asked about Matt 28:20 without understanding what Jesus promised by it. Jesus commanded His disciples to teach what He taught them and not what some church centuries later would teach. That's why I brought up what you call "side-discussions". They tell us if your church is doing as Jesus commanded or teaching its own doctrines.
      What you gave me as proof of infallibility of your church from Scripture really does not support that when we look at the contexts for those passages. Luke 10:16 is example of how you misused that verse to mean something that Luke never intended. We know this by the context. If you are going to use Scripture to support your doctrines be sure to understand that contexts.

      Your church did fall away from the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints when it denied the gospel at Trent.
      Canon 9. If anyone shall say that by faith alone the sinner is justified, so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will: let him be anathema.

      This statement contradicts:
      "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin," (Rom. 3:20).
      "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," (Rom. 3:24).
      "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).
      "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).
      "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
      "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).
      "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," (Titus 3:5).

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    6. "Any church can teach error."

      In Greek in Matt 16:18, Christ says He will build "mou ten ekklesian." Ekklesian is singular. Mou means 'my' and ten is a definate article meaning 'the.' Literally," You are Rock and on this the Rock I will build the singular church [that's] mine."

      Here is what you are missing in what the church is. When the NT says ekklesia they aren't using a synonym for panegyris or synagoge.

      In the Septuagint Old Testament, the word Qahal is ALWAYS translated ekklesia.

      Qahal is the Assembly of Israel with God in their midst.

      There is only one Ekklesia only one Qahal founded by Christ. That Ekklesia was to be a pillar and a bulwark of truth. 1 Tim 3:15

      Does truth have any communion with falsehood? If something is 99.999% truth, then the statement is false. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. One false premise will invalidate an entire logical statement.

      Can a pillar of truth have any falsehood and still be a pillar and a bulwark?


      Now you are claiming the RCC defected from the true faith, the Gospel, at Trent.

      Ok.

      So if we were the true faith before Trent, then anyone who defected before then would not be the true Church.

      So that would rule out Lutherans and Calvinists.

      What? You knew Trent was a response to the Reformation, not the cause of it. So I'm taking you at your word.




      Delete
    7. >Your church did fall away from the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints when it denied the gospel at Trent.

      Wait...I'm confused (and fortunately this nicely ties back into the other thread which seems to have now been abandoned).

      Why not earlier? There's evidence of belief in the Real Presence, Baptismal Regeneration, Marian devotion, Saintly intercession, use of the Deuterocanon, relics etc. long before Trent. And, if you accept my assertion, there's no evidence that anyone believed in the Penal Substitution either. So...why Trent?

      Delete
    8. Trent was very specific in rejecting the gospel as I pointed out above. We don't see the church in the early centuries teaching the Marian dogmas for example. What is your definition of Penal Substitution?

      Delete
    9. Meyu,

      I think you’re getting ahead of yourself. Let me reformulate a few of the basic arguments that I laid out above:

      Argument 1:
      a) Christ founded a Church, and promised that it wouldn’t fail (Matthew 16:17-19, Matthew 28:20, etc.)
      b) You say that the Church founded by Christ failed. [You haven’t specified, but you apparently believe that the original Church was destroyed, or else fell into heresy. Either of these outcomes would be a failure of the Church].
      c) Therefore, this amounts to a suggestion that Christ either lied or was unable to keep His promise.

      Argument 2:
      a) The Scriptural standard for the true Church can be found in Acts 5:38-39, “if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.”
      b) You claim that the Apostolic Church failed.
      c) Therefore, this claim amount to saying that the Apostolic Church wasn’t of God, or that Christ isn’t God.

      Argument 3:
      a) Christ describes the Church as a continuation of Himself (Acts 9:1-6), and Personally intercedes to prevent Her from being destroyed.
      b) You claim that the Church is heretical.
      c) Therefore, this amounts to an attack on Christ Himself.

      Argument 4:
      a) Christ promises that the Church will have “all truth” “forever,” because She will be guided by the Holy Spirit (John 14:19-20; Jn. 16:13)
      b) You claim that the Church doesn’t teach all truth.
      c) Therefore, you’re contradicting Scripture, the words of Christ, and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

      In each of these, I’ve followed a simple formula: each a) is a reference to Scripture, each b) is a reference to your claims against the Church, and each c) is the logical conclusion from those two premises.

      Now, does anything that you’ve said in response refute any of this? All you’ve done is doubled down on your claims that the Church failed, is now heretical, and has anathematized the Gospel. That’s just reaffirming my b) points above: that you disagree with the Church founded by Christ (because She doesn’t bow to your understanding of Scripture). But as you can see, this shows that you disagree with Christ, not that Christ or the Church is wrong.

      So let’s try this again. Can you show me where the reasoning in any of these points above go wrong?

      I.X.,

      Joe

      Delete
    10. >Trent was very specific in rejecting the gospel as I pointed out above.

      Trent didn't teach anything new. It just reaffirmed the same Catholic teaching held for Centuries. For example, the Church had never taught salvation by Faith Alone. Luther claimed it was true, so the Church re-iterated the Catholic teaching on salvation with a particular emphasis on the role of grace, faith and works. It's like Nicaea - it didn't invent the Divinity of Christ - it just re-articulated the Catholic belief in explicit terms which demonstrated the Arian heresy.


      >We don't see the church in the early centuries teaching the Marian dogmas for example

      Really? How do you know this since you haven't read the Fathers? (Irenaeus called her the "New Eve", Hippolytus called her "spotless" and "God-bearing" (Theotokos), Gregory called her the "Mother of God"...)

      But, again, let's use the example of the Real Presence because it has an undeniably solid First Century witness. Christians at that time had this misguided notion that it was a sacrifice and that Jesus was really there in the Eucharist. As far as the historical record shows, we find no opposition to this great heresy and scandalous idolatry. Therefore, surely the First Century Church has already lost the plot? They even believed that water actually washed away sins!


      >What is your definition of Penal Substitution?

      I've been noticing a pattern. First you assert something, then we go back and forth a few times and then you suddenly demand definitions for everything, even if the for a well established term.

      The standard of truth you used for Catholic doctrine is that we must find explicit First Century evidence. You now appear to admit that you don't have to do this for your own doctrines, rendering the historical witness purely optional. Therefore, using your own standard for truth you're under no obligation to provide evidence that Christians ever believed in the doctrine.

      Delete
  29. As another important detail to the Protestant view of the atonement, they teach that our sins were "imputed" to Jesus, despite the fact the Bible says nothing of this. To prove just how desperate they are to find proof, they use 2 Corinthians 5:19 which says God was "not imputing our sins against US," and they say that this implies God 'must have' imputed these sins to someone else, namely Jesus. This is something that the well educated Reformed like James White and others teach.

    In fact, an ex-Catholic and now Reformed pastor named Chris Castaldo has recently written about this very thing, given that Good Friday was last week. Using the allusion to 2 Corinthians 5:19, Castaldo (approvingly) quotes another Protestant who says:

    "God declined to ‘impute’ our sins to us, or ‘count’ them against us, with the implication that he imputed them to Christ instead."

    This "with the implication that" talk is just as serious as the assumption that the Father vented His wrath on Jesus. Not only does no text come close to saying this, this exegesis is just weak and dangerous. Just because sin isn't imputed to us does not in any way mean 'it thus must be' imputed to a substitute. This is unfortunate desperation that comes about trying to defend PSub, since Sola Fide hangs in the balance.

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. meyu -

    If your exegesis is so obvious from scripture, why is it that there is no historical evidence for others who believed like you do until the Reformation? Your exegesis is just better than civilization for 1,500 years? If so, how is your exegesis better? The Church got off to such a bad footing after the Apostles died off and this wasn't corrected until the Reformation? (That sounds awfully close to Joseph Smith).

    I abandoned the reformed ship last April! Never again will allow myself to be consumed with theological relativism, scholasticism and progressivism. In the end, Protestantism is what people really want which is God on their own terms and to create a church out of themselves.

    Joe answered your question about protecting the Church. The reason that Luther wanted to "reform" the Church is that he believed that it was the true Church instituted by God. If it wasn't, there would be no need to reform it. Even Carl Trueman admits that historically speaking, Catholicism is the default position of Christianity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. cwdlaw223,
      When you abandoned Protestantism you were forced to embrace many doctrines not taught by the apostles. If the RCC was the true church of God, guided by the HS and protected from error why would it need to be reformed to begin with? The mere fact it needed reform disproves its protected from error. It shows that it was not guided by the HS because that which is guided by Spirit needs no reform.

      Delete
    2. I don't understand that logic at all. It's like saying that when someone becomes a Christian he/she will never sin again and that he/she has no scope or need to grow in holiness.

      "[The Church] incessantly needs to purify and renew herself" - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

      Delete
    3. > The reason that Luther wanted to "reform" the Church is that he believed that it was the true Church instituted by God.

      Never one to miss out on a Chesterton quotation:

      "The Reformer is always right about what's wrong. However, he's often wrong about what is right." - G.K. Chesterton

      Delete
    4. How could a church that is supposedly protected from error, err?

      Delete
    5. That which is guided by the Spirit needs no reform?

      Was Luther guided by the Spirit when he threw Revelation in a river and called James an epistle of straw?

      Geneva when it burned Michael Servatus at the stake?

      John Symth when he baptized himself?

      Is the PCUSA guided by the Spirit when they declare the trinity as Mother, Womb, Child?

      Is John Hagee guided by the Spirit when he calls Rome the Whore of Babylon then wishes to join forces with the Whore for his political agenda?

      Was the Southern Baptist Convention in the Spirit when they said abortion is fine if it will stress at the mother in 1971?

      Tell us plainly Meyu: which Church is the one true Church? Where do you attend?

      Delete
    6. I don't think you understand what Catholics mean when they talk about Christ's protection of the Church. It doesn't mean that all her members will be perfectly holy or never teach error.

      Delete
    7. You do expect in your leaders. Especially with the pope and the magisterium.

      Delete
    8. We don't even expect it of the Pope at all times and not on subjects other than faith and morals.

      Delete
  32. Did Luther claim to be guided by the HS in his view of Revelation and James?

    Was your church guided by the HS in the creation of the inquisitions that went on for centuries that resulted in the deaths and torture of many Christians?
    Did you know that your church had Jan Huss burned at the stake?
    You have to ask yourself how could a church that claims to be guided by HS do such wicked things?

    Protestants don't claim to be infallible. They know they can err.

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    Replies
    1. >Did Luther claim to be guided by the HS in his view of Revelation and James?

      Could he have claimed it on any other basis?

      Delete
    2. meyu -

      I do not expect leaders in the Church to be sinless. In fact, look at the damage that the former priest known as Martin Luther has brought by guiding souls away from Christ's Church. Protestantism is theological relativism. Why? Because no one P can ever claim they are truth.

      You, like Joseph Smith, seem to believe that after the Apostles died everyone became dumb and clueless and not until some new interpreation of scripture comes along 1,400 years later did everyone get it right (for Mr. Smith there was new revelation). This is scholaticism at its finest. Modern man always believes he is smarter than his predecessors.

      If Christ failed with Rome he was a liar and not the Messiah.

      Delete
    3. Luther claimed it on his own study and opinion. I'm not aware he claimed it by the HS.

      Delete
  33. meyu -

    Why won't you provide me with historical evidence of a group of people like you before the Reformation if scripture is so clear? You keep dodging this simple question.

    The Reformation was not about reforming Rome's theology (at the beginning). Rome's theology didn't change as a result of the Reformation nor did it need changing. This is why you are unable to find historical evidence of people like you before the Reformation. The liberal theology spawned by the Reformation was a theological nuvum made out of thin air that discarded 1,500 years of sacerdotal Christendom. There will always be sinners in the Church because man is a fallen creature. Infallibility does not guaratnee someone is free from sin or that the members of the Church act holy all the time. Progressives all the time want to create some super-human standard upon the Church that didn't even happen with the Apostles. Paul was a murderer so how can you believe him? Peter rejected Christ when it matter most so how can you believe him?

    In the end, the reason the Reformation took hold because it freed people from paying taxes to Rome and allowed them to create their own theology out of mid air without any connection to history, reason or guilt in leaving Rome. (It used to be great being making up my own rules up after reading scripture and if I didn't like a church I just changed churces). The Reformation unmoored man from Christ's earthly Church and allowed man to become his own priest and interpret scripture out of thin air. Even worse, many now decided to change scripture and remove 7 books from the Old Testament (there's a reason there are no Protestant Bibles on the scene until the 1,400s. If there is no earthly authority, many can interpret scripture however he wants. My evidence? Protestantism itself.

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  34. Meyu,

    "Protestants don't claim to be infallible. They know they can err."

    "[T]hat which is guided by Spirit needs no reform."

    Is your church guided by the Spirit? Yes or no will suffice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What does it mean to be "guided by the Spirit?" What would the characteristics of a church that is guided by the HS?
      Anyone say they are guided by guided by the Spirit so we need to know the true claim from the false. Agreed?

      Delete
    2. Meyu...you're doing it again! You use a phrase....there's a bit of a back and forth....and then you ask for a definition of the very phrase you've quite happily used up until now!

      I believe Daniel asked you a question and requested a simple yes/no answer. Feel free to respond as you wish, but it's only polite to answer a question when it's posed to you.

      Delete
    3. Restless,
      It's important to understand the meaning of phrase before an answer can be rightfully given. It is your church that claims to be led by the Holy Spirit. It's actually assumed by Roman Catholics but never proven.

      Delete
  35. Daniel -

    Hopefully we won't go round and round over the definition of the word church, but I suspect that will happen as well. Nobody believed in the concept that the church Christ was speaking about was only the "invisible church of believers" that you hear Protestants reference. There is no one, holy, apostolic and universal Protestant church. Let alone one that has lasted since Pentecost.

    I think two better questions are did Christ create a physical church on this earth to spread and teach the gospel? and if so, where is this Church physically located?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. cwdlaw223,
      Lets focus on your last couple of questions:
      1- What must a RC do to be saved?

      2- Where did Jesus teach that His church would have its headquarters in Rome?

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    2. Meyu,

      Let’s not get side-tracked on yet another tangent. One of the risks to avoid in Catholic-Protestant apologetics is a tendency to want to raise every objection to Catholicism, without taking the time to actually talk through any of the points.  It's breadth over depth.

      It's not a recipe for productive dialogue, and often, it seems downright evasive. So for example, in this case, you raised a number of issues about infallibility, and once Scripture was used to show that you were wrong, you tried to change the subject: first, you tried to bring up “the Marian dogmas, indulgences and purgatory.” Then you brought up the Council of Trent and justification.  Now you're trying to bring up soteriology and whether Catholics have (or need) explicit permission from Christ to have the Church's headquarters in Rome.

      Once more, you're imposing a burden of proof on Catholics you wouldn't dream of imposing on yourself: after all, where is your "church" headquartered, and where did Christ give you permission to locate it there? Where does He explicitly tell the Apostles to headquarter the Church anywhere?

      In imposing burdens of proof you are acting like Pharisees who “bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger” (Matthew 23:4).  You want us to carry a heavy burden of proof, but won't lift even a light one yourself.

      So please, let’s do two things:
      1) Get back on topic. The three major topics we’ve been discussing are the papacy (from the thread you abandoned), penal substitution, and now Church infallibility. If you can explain some particular need to bring in a fourth one, that’s fine. Otherwise, aren’t there enough questions you’ve already left unanswered?
      2) Establish a burden of proof that you’ll actually live by. If you’re going to demand explicit first/second century evidence from us on the papacy, provide explicit first/second century evidence on penal substitution. After all, you claim that “history matters,” and that if something is part of Christianity, we should see explicit attestation to it in the early Church, right?

      Delete
    3. Joe,
      I did not abandon the discussion on the papacy. I made the last comment on that and I asked you some questions that you never responded to. The last comment I show is meyuMarch 29, 2013 at 2:48 PM. Were there others after that?

      History is important. However, we must agree that the penal substitution is taught in Scripture. So far, you and you and your friends have not refuted it. I don't expect you to accept this. So, did Christ die for sin or not? Who made Christ suffer ultimately?

      How should we go about determining if it was taught in the early church? One way we can get an idea is to see what various documents in the 1st-2nd century say about the death of Christ and His punishment for our sins. Since you and Restless are claiming to be knowledgeable about the fathers perhaps you two can tell me what they said about it.

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    4. > History is important

      So important that you're willing to completely ignore it if it conflicts with your personal interpretation of Scripture?


      > However, we must agree that the penal substitution is taught in Scripture.

      No, I'm afraid we mustn't. Not only are there several people on this blog who don't think Scripture teaches this, we've got over a millennium of early Christians who didn't seem to think so either.

      If the great Early Church theologians didn't seem to believe in Penal Substitution, why should we listen to your interpretation of Scripture rather than theirs? You never answered my question before: studied history) and show no desire to study them either. It's not exactly motivating...

      But more importantly, you admitted that it wouldn't matter if we found no evidence at all for Penal Substitution in the Early Centuries of Christianity. Your interpretation of Scripture can override any amount of history.

      This is why I engaged in a hypothetical question rather than trawling through the Fathers in detail. What's the point of explaining to you their beliefs (theosis etc) if you can just disregard it with a wave of your hand? I'm afraid that, given your standard for determining truth, it's an entirely pointless enterprise.

      All we can do is try and show you the inconsistency of your position and try and demonstrate that Penal Substitution is not taught by the Bible, a collection of documents preserved and assembled by a Church which you believe was deeply in heresy from virtually Day One.

      Delete
    5. *** Previous entry got messed up ***


      > History is important

      So important that you're willing to completely ignore it if it conflicts with your personal interpretation of Scripture?


      > However, we must agree that the penal substitution is taught in Scripture.

      No, I'm afraid we mustn't. Not only are there several people on this blog who don't think Scripture teaches this, we've got over a millennium of early Christians who didn't seem to think so either.

      If the great Early Church theologians didn't seem to believe in Penal Substitution, why should we listen to your interpretation of Scripture rather than theirs? You never answered my question before: do you consider yourself a Bible expert? For example, are you fluent in Greek and Hebrew?

      >How should we go about determining if it was taught in the early church? One way we can get an idea is to see what various documents in the 1st-2nd century say about the death of Christ and His punishment for our sins. Since you and Restless are claiming to be knowledgeable about the fathers perhaps you two can tell me what they said about it.

      The problem with this is that you haven't read the Father (despite somehow having studied history) and show no desire to study them either. It's not exactly motivating...

      But more importantly, you admitted that it wouldn't matter if we found no evidence at all for Penal Substitution in the Early Centuries of Christianity. Your interpretation of Scripture can override any amount of history.

      This is why I engaged in a hypothetical question rather than trawling through the Fathers in detail. What's the point of explaining to you their beliefs (theosis etc) if you can just disregard it with a wave of your hand? I'm afraid that, given your standard for determining truth, it's an entirely pointless enterprise.

      All we can do is try and show you the inconsistency of your position and try and demonstrate that Penal Substitution is not taught by the Bible, a collection of documents preserved and assembled by a Church which you believe was deeply in heresy from virtually Day One.

      Delete

    6.  “I did not abandon the discussion on the papacy. I made the last comment on that and I asked you some questions that you never responded to. The last comment I show is meyu March 29, 2013 at 2:48 PM. Were there others after that?

      Nope, you’re right. I overlooked your last response there.  I apologize.  There are, however, several questions that I’ve asked you that remain unanswered.  I’ll address that on the other post, though, when I get a chance.

      History is important. However, we must agree that the penal substitution is taught in Scripture.

      I don’t understand this claim.  Are you suggesting that there are some areas that are some parts of Scripture that are (1) so clear that we can know with certainty that they meant x, but (2) so unclear that the earliest Christians misunderstood them until the Reformation?

      I’m also not sure exactly what you mean by history being important.  Is it important only when it agrees with you?  Or does it have the ability to change your reading of Scripture?  Because based on your prior comments, you seem to lord your reading of Scripture over the beliefs of the early Christians.

      So far, you and you and your friends have not refuted it. I don't expect you to accept this.
      We’ve:

      a) Shown several reasons why penal substitution is wrong, including the reasons in the post (like that it contradicts basic Trinitarian theology), and countless reasons raised in the comments;

      b) We’ve offered an alternative explanation (Satisfaction) that works better with the Scriptural evidence (and has better historical support)… an alternative explanation that you’ve yet to even attempt to debunk, as far as I can see; and

      c) We’ve shown that the Scriptural passages that you’re using to support penal substitution are being misunderstood.  For example, you’ve repeatedly referred to passages about Christ being “made sin,” etc., despite my earlier demonstration that this is a reference to “sin offerings,” and that sin offerings were viewed as holy by God, rather than being hated by Him.  This point, even in isolation, shows that the very passages you’re pointing to actually point to the opposite conclusion. Christ on the Cross is holy to the Father, not hated by the Father.

      As you said, “I don't expect you to accept this.” But you can’t pretend like this isn’t going on. We’re engaging you on Scripture, and you’re repeatedly changing the subject.

      Of course, it’s worth mentioning an important truth here: we may just not come to an agreement on what Scripture means.  Sometimes, different Christians simple read Scriptures differently. For example, James 2:24 explicitly* says that justification is not by faith alone.  You say that it is. I don’t see how that is compatible with James 2:24 (neither did Luther), but you apparently think that it is.  I don’t doubt your good faith: I think you’re just misreading Scripture here.

      So how do we rectify these things, if the Church is to remain One, as Christ prayed (John 17:20-23)?

      Put very simply, if the dispute is “how do we know how to understand Scripture,” what authority can we look to? The early Church? The Magisterium? Church Councils and Creeds? Anybody?

      *I actually mean it when I say that Scripture says it explicitly, unlike your “explicit” examples of Scripture that are (at best) implicit-if-you-assume-Reformed-theology-is-true.

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    7. Here are some quotes from the early church that support Penal Substitution:
      “Because of the love he felt for us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave his blood for us by the will of God, his body for our bodies, and his soul for our souls.” Epistle to the Corinthians –Clement. (95)

      “Now, He suffered all these things for our sakes, that we might be saved.” Ignatius (107)

      “For to this end the Lord endured to deliver up His flesh to corruption, that we might be sanctified through the remission of sins, which is effected by His blood of sprinkling. For it is written concerning Him, partly with reference to Israel, and partly to us; and [the Scripture] saith thus: “He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities: with His stripes we are healed. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb which is dumb before its shearer.” Epistle of Barnabas

      This bishop of Emesa and leader in the Greek church said in regard to 1 Pet 2:24, “But his wounds became our saviors.” (300-360)

      “For, as when John says, ‘The Word was made flesh we do not conceive the whole Word
      Himself to be flesh, but to have put on flesh and become man, and on hearing, ‘Christ hath
      become a curse for us,’ and ‘He hath made Him sin for us who knew no sin,’ we do not
      simply conceive this, that whole Christ has become curse and sin, but that He has taken
      on Him the curse which lay against us (as the Apostle has said, ‘Has redeemed us from
      the curse,’ and ‘has carried,’ as Isaiah has said, ‘our sins,’ and as Peter has written, ‘has
      borne them in the body on the wood.’ Four Discourses Against the Arians-Athanasius (300-370)

      These statements clearly showed what these leaders of the early church taught. These are characteristics of Penal Substitution.

      Delete
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  37. Amen Joe.

    meyu -

    It's not what a "RC" must do to be saved, its what must man do to be saved. Almost every Mass I hear the Priest telling me that I must have faith in case you wanted to know. Loving Christ with all of your heart, mind, body and soul requires effort and work and is not a mere mental exercise and also includes following the Church he created on earth. Scripture was determined to be scripture because it was, among other things, used during Mass by many Catholic Churches. In fact, I believe the liturgy of the Mass pre-dated much of scripture itself.

    There is nothing that requires the City of Rome to be the headquarters of the Catholic Church. I don't care where the Church is located. The biggest question is did Christ create a physical church on this planet and if so, what happened to it? History answers this question with an emphatic yes and that "the" church is the Catholic Church (with the Roman rite being the largest part of the Catholic Church).

    Carl Trueman (professor of church history at Westminster) admits that Rome is the default Christian position in history. However, Mr. Trueman also can't point to a proto-Protestant church in history prior to the Reformation nor can he provide evidence of a Protestant Bible prior to the 12th or 14th Century. Who are you to determine scripture? I realize that I am nobody to determine the canon of scripture. I am also someone who takes Jesus at his word and doesn't try to nominalize his words.

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    1. cwdlaw223,
      So for a RC to be saved he have faith.
      He must love Christ with all of your heart, mind, body and soul and following the Church he created on earth.

      Let me ask you some questions about this so I am clear about what you believe to be saved:
      1) Are you to have faith in something or just have faith?
      2) Do you love Christ perfectly?
      3) How do you follow your church when there are so many doctrines and practices and writings to know? For example: do you read and study the catechism? Do you apply all that it says to?

      We can discuss your other questions later. I'm already in hot water for going on tangents and I don't want the powers that be to get any more frustrated.

      Delete
  38. meyu -

    Why do you ask such questions that aren't found in scripture? The Bible doesn't have these questions so they must be ignored under sola scriptura.

    I've answered your previous questions. I believe you owe it to those on this blog to answer whether Christ created a physical Church on this earth and where is this Church today in a physical state on this planet.

    What I believe to be saved isn't what counts. It's what God and his Church says to be saved that counts. I try the best that I can in my fallen state and recognize that there is no way that any one man could ever have enough knowledge to properly exegete all of scripture. The issue of being saved isn't about what a Roman Catholic belives per se, it's about what is truth. I use history to determine truth. Protestants, like Mormons, don't because history is anti-thetical to their positions. Christ didn't leave the Church (which was physical on earth) he promised to protect. Protestantism = church failure. The only church in history that has lasted since Pentecost until today is Rome. If Rome failed in its theology then Christ failed. It is that simple in the end.

    It's not about me. Unfortunately, Protestantism makes it about man and his own interpretation of scripture. The fruit of the Reformation is secular humanism because man became unmoored from the Church and anything supernatural. There is nothing supernatural about Protestantism on earth today.

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    1. cwdlaw223,
      Why do you say-"Why do you ask such questions that aren't found in scripture? The Bible doesn't have these questions so they must be ignored under sola scriptura"?

      The Scripture is clear on what a man must do to be saved. See Rom 10:9-10. It does matter what you believe because all men will be held accountable for their beliefs. If any church denies what the Scripture teaches on the nature of the gospel they are not to be believed.

      If the Roman Catholic church was around at the time of Pentecost then why is it not mentioned in Acts?

      Rome has failed in its theology because much of what it teaches is not apostolic. That's why its important to compare what any church teaches with what the apostles taught. If it does not square with apostolic doctrine then it is to be rejected.

      Delete
  39. meyu -

    It's not about me and my personal interpretation of scripture. It's about Christ and his Church. Salvation isn't a recipe. It's about love. Scholastic man wants salvation to be a recipe, but its not. Scholastic man wants to be able to put Christ in a box and let him out whenever it suits his needs. Scholastic man believes that his mental powers can overcome and eliminate the supernatural in this world.

    I believe that you have dodged many of my questions and others on this site. If you are unable to answer with a yes or no whether Christ created a physical Church on this planet to lead his flock then there isn't really a point in continuing our dialogue.

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    Replies
    1. cwdlaw223,
      Your love does not save you. Salvation is about dealing with sin. That's why Christ came to take upon Himself the sins of the world so that those who put their trust in Him for salvation can be saved. The church is to preach this gospel and build people up in the gospel so that they will grow to maturity in Christ. See Col 1:28

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  40. Joe, when I was a Protestant I can say in hindsight that my objections also were a mile wide and an inch deep.

    For example, "Jews are OT experts: I trust their judgement in determining OT canon!"

    That's good and well, but a more penetrating analysis will reveal that the Jews put the Word (logos) on a cross, do we really trust them with the Word (graphe)?

    Or, "I don't need to pray to dead people, Jesus is the one mediator!"

    Well, aren't the saints in heaven in a sense more alive than we are? And aren't we instructed to pray on behalf of each other?

    Or, "The Bible says we're saved by faith alone!"

    The Bible doesn't actually *say* that.

    "Well, the Bible means we're saved by faith alone!"

    Is faith all alone, apart from works, when it's doing its saving? Can you believe and not feed and clothe your neighbor, visit the prisoner, etc.? If you do that, do you end up with the sheep or the goats at the last judgement?

    "Well the Bible says worship God alone, not Mary."

    We worship God alone, not Mary.

    "It says not to pray to statues."

    We don't pray to statues.

    "It says not to call any man your father."

    Paul called Abraham 'your father.'

    "Holy water ain't in the Bible!"

    Numbers 5:17 KJV

    "History matters!"

    Is your belief of X, Y, or Z in the historical record?

    "Shut up! It's in the Bible"

    What verse says that?

    "Shut up!"

    How many Churches did Christ build?

    "The pope's pointy hat means he worship's Dagon!" http://tinyurl.com/d6kxylq

    Do you believe the Church is the pillar and ground of truth?

    "Jesuit blood oath!"

    Did the apostles have the authority to forgive sin?

    "Child molesters!"

    The distinction petros/petra goes away in Koine Greek; that's only in Attic Greek.

    "Antichrist!!!"

    Paul's handkerchief is a relic.

    "Spawn of Saaaaaaaaaataaaaaaaaaan!"

    The early Church had a pope.

    "If it's not in the Bible I don't believe it."

    The Bible says Jesus's body is food indeed, and his blood drink indeed.

    "That's not what it means!"

    How do we know what it means?

    "By the Spirit!"

    How do you know if your interpretation is the by the Spirit?

    "Because it's the right one!"

    How do you know it's the right one?

    "Because it's by the Spirit!"

    Er.

    "You think you're so holy with your inquisitions and your molester priests."

    Well, when we say that the Church is holy we mean that--

    "Molester priests!"

    --that if you do what the Church tells you to do and you avoid what the--

    "Devil worshipers!"

    --Church tells you to avoid, then you will be holy.

    "Works righteousness!"

    Well, the Council of Orange says that all works is by grace disposing us to do them in the first place.

    "Well, the Bible says not to pray vain and repetitious prayers!"

    What about repetitious prayers that are meant sincerely and aren't vain?

    "That's a tradition of men, I get my truth from the Bible--All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

    But isn't he talking about OT Scripture "from a child thou hast known?" 2 Tim 3:15

    "Context!"

    Er, isn't quoting the verse before your verse providing context?

    "Galileo!"



    *sigh*

    "You didn't know your church burned Huss at the stake!"

    I did know that, thank you, and thank you for reminding me again why that can be such a temptation sometimes.

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  41. Joe,
    I dealth with some of your points against Penal Substution in your article at April 3, 2013 at 12:31 AM. Your starting points against PS are problematic to say the least.

    Your comments on the infallibly of the church at April 4, 2013 at 11:14 AM are assertions. First we know Jesus never promised explicitly the church would not err. There is no such statement. Jesus said He was building the church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. That is different than saying the church failed. The fact is the church has failed on some issues. I would think even you would say your church has failed on some issues.

    PS- its becoming difficult to track some of the responses so I may miss some comments at times.

    ReplyDelete