Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our Christmas 2009

Christmas Eve at Our House

Christmas Morning at Our House

Christmas Day Dinner at my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law's House

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Orange Tree in December

Hi my friends, I know many of you are gardeners and homesteaders. I am neither, but I do have my one Orange tree in my back yard. I basically neglect it but I think hubby did actually fertilize it once or twice. Other than that the poor tree is on its own. So while many of you are under a blanket of snow I have lovely oranges on my orange tree. Oh and My doggies- Sadie the Min Pin, and Roxie the Maltese. :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sporting Clays: Family Fun

OK I had No idea what to title this post. I was going to title it the family that shoots together stays together but decided against that. Here are some pictures of us out at a Sporting Clays place. Richard and I ride around in the golf cart and the rest of the family shoots shotguns at these clay things that they pretend are different types of game such as squirrels or rabbits or birds. Different stations have contraptions set up to throw these clay things at different angles and speeds and things. Someone pushes a button and the machine thing shoots the clay round thingy and the person with the shotgun at the station of course tries to shoot it. That is my explanation. Since I have no desire to shoot I just take pictures. It is fun just being out in the woods.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quality of Life Issues: Life on a Ventilator does not mean a painful or poorer quality of life.

Quality of Life Issues: Choosing Life on a Ventilator, Is it Selfish? Is It Giving Others False-Hope? What do you think?

(First I acknowledge every case is different and the choices are tough- I want to pass no judgment on peoples choices. I do believe , however, people are not always given all the true facts and make decisions without complete knowledge.)

I received this comment on my blog-
The commenter accused Samuel's parents of being selfish and giving others false hope.

Anonymous said...
I simply have to ask. How is this choosing life? My son also had TD. My husband and I chose to do the best, unselfish, and humane thing in the world which was let him go. Why put your son through such a horrible life to satisfy your need to parent? Yes, I completely understand what it is like to have to go through what you went through; however, your giving people false hope. These children have no quality of life and never will even if they survive past the 48 hour mark. They will never smell a rose, play in the leaves, or feel the warm sun on their little faces. They will only ever know a machine breathing for them, the pain of several needle sticks and procedures just to sustain a heart beat. And for what? Answer that for me, what?

November 24, 2009 11:51 PM

Dear anonymous I truly feel for your loss. I can never know what is is like to make those decisions you and my sister-in-law faced. No one can fault you for the decisions you made out of love, caring, and compassion. I am in no position to tell anyone that their personal decision was right or wrong. It was best for them at the time. My original response was a gut reaction to your comment on my blog. After re-reading my response, I thought maybe the tone might have come across as harsh or judgmental, which was not my intent at all. My quarrel is only with the medical establishment and others that want to say what quality of life is worth living. I want to let others know that life on a ventilator is not a bad or painful way to live. We have come so far from the iron lungs of the past. Please accept my sincere apology if my original response came across as unloving, or uncaring or judgmental in any way. That was not my intent. Sincerely Deana

My Original Response back to the above poster:

Anonymous first off I am not the mother-- I am the Aunt. Second you are so mistaken on everything you just postulated. Samuel has a wonderful quality of life- Did you not look at the pictures? He laughs, he smiles, he plays, he has favorite toys he loves to look at himself in the mirror, he interacts. He even has a teacher who comes and works with him and he can push buttons and operate a computer. He has been to Disney World, and Sea World and to the beach, He has felt the sun and the breeze on his face, tasted the wonderful taste of all kinds of food including candy, and smelled the roses. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law take him for walks (the ventilator is portable) They take him to church regularly. They take him over to family and friends houses. You were told that these children would have a poor and painful quality of life but that is not the case. You were lied to. My sister-in-law chose to have him ventilated so he could survive. if God want's to take him home he can certainly do so on the ventilator. And miracle of miracles he has been off the ventilator for up to 4 hours (but it might have only been 2- I am not sure I don't remember what my SIL told me) So who knows. No-one has allowed these children to live long enough to actually know what their potential is. My sister-in-law was told he would not do almost all the things he is doing. And for what you ask?- For life the simple joy of life and for hope. Maybe his life is meant to give others hope. You sound like you were given no hope for your little one and made decisions accordingly. Samuel is 4 years old now who knows how long he will continue to live and thrive .

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pride is the Opposite of Loving Your Neighbor: My thoughts on spritual pride.

Wow Wow Wow my insight for today.

I needed to write it down before it disappeared from my mind.

I was contemplating the sin of pride and had an "a ha" moment. I was reading and this popped out : Pride is the opposite of loving one's neighbor. I never actually thought of pride like that before. Pride = a desire to be more important, more special, or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self. Dante's definition was "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor. Hmm this led into my thinking about spiritual pride (which I have been and still am guilty of from time to time). I truly never equated pride with not loving my neighbor. To feel superior and/or spiritually superior to anyone is pride. The feeling I am special or better than you because I am a Christian or a better Christian than you or I am a more faithful Christian, or I am more pleasing to God because I do this or that, is not just pride but it is hating your neighbor. Even the thought, "I'm saved but I am not so sure about you" is very prideful and presumptive. Ok sorry for the sermon, I didn't mean to be preachy or anything just my "a ha" moment.

I also realize it is almost impossible to be completely humble and not the slightest bit prideful. I certainly am very prideful in many areas. Pride and humility are on a sliding scale and as one increases the other decreases. The best I can hope for I think is to keep them in relative balance and hopefully not let pride completely take over.

It is also way too easy for me to spot the spiritual pride of others, probably since I have been there and done that. I also think that pointing out the spiritual pride of others is a way of being prideful too. It is kind of a catch 22, so I need to stop myself when I find I am doing that, which is all too often. I can look back and say wow I have come a long way in this area looking back on 20 + years and I need to remind myself that others may be struggling with their own spiritual pride and they will grow and improve in the area too. I need to be concerned with my spiritual pride and progress alone, take out the plank in my eye.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to Make and use an Advent Wreath at Home in Family Devotions

(parts of this taken from other websites)
My Advent Wreath (not homemade)

Here are some other pictures of advent wreaths

Make an Advent Wreath at Home
Did you know that Advent wreaths were originally used
in the home? They didn’t become popular in churches
until the middle of the twentieth century.
You can make an Advent wreath with either four or five
How to Make an Advent Wreath
To begin, put four candles on a wreath or at least in a
circle. Traditionally the candles are purple, because in
antiquity, purple dye was very expensive and it was the
color of royalty. We use purple for Advent because it is
the season of the coming of the King. If you can’t get
purple candles, you can substitute blue ones. You can also
make one of the candles pink if you like—technically, it
is rose colored. The Pink Candle is put traditionally in the 3rd week spot. The third candle, usually for the Third Sunday of Advent, is traditionally Pink or Rose, and symbolizes Joy at the soon Advent of the Christ. It marks a shift from the more solemn tone of the first two Sundays of Advent that focus on Preparation and Hope, to a more joyous atmosphere of anticipation and expectancy. Sometimes the colors of the sanctuary and vestments are also changed to Rose for this Sunday. If you have a fifth candle, it goes in the center of the wreath and it should be white and is the Christ candle.

How to Use Your Advent Wreath
The idea is to use the wreath in conjunction with worship
services or personal or family devotions on the four
Sundays in Advent. You light candles at the beginning of
each service and snuff them out at the end.
• On the first Sunday in Advent, you light the first
candle. Have your service, then snuff out the candle.
• On the second Sunday in Advent, you light two
candles, first the one from the previous Sunday, then
the second one. Have your service, then snuff out the
• On the third Sunday in Advent, you light the two
candles from the previous weeks, in the order you lit
them before, then you add the third one. Have your
service, then snuff out the candles.
• On the fourth Sunday in Advent, you light the three
candles from the previous weeks, in the order you lit
them before, then you light the fourth one. Have your
service, then snuff out the candles. You should get a
stair-step effect, since each candle is a different
length by now.
If you have a fifth candle in the center, then on Christmas
Day you light the four candles in the order you lit them
before, and then you light the center candle. Have your
service, then snuff out the candles.
You notice how I emphasize snuffing out the candles at
the end of each service? This has absolutely no liturgical
significance whatsoever, but it is vitally important and
you must not leave it out. It prevents the candles from
burning your house down.
I recommend that you snuff out the candles, rather than
blowing them out. The reason is that if you blow them
out, you might spray hot wax over everything.
Prayers for Use with the Advent Wreath
When you use an Advent Wreath in personal or family
devotions, you can use whatever scriptures and prayers
you like. If you need a point of departure, here is
something to get you started. Please don’t take it as a set
form. You can use different readings, you can modify the
prayers, and you can add hymns, carols, or other prayers
as you like. (Here are some Other Suggestions for Advent Readings and Songs)

On the First Sunday in Advent
• Light one purple candle
• Read Isaiah 60:2-3
Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your
Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the light of the
world. We who have sat in darkness have seen a great
light, the light of Jesus Christ, our salvation. We give
you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he
lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the
unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

(Opt) Sing: O come, O come Emmanuel

On the Second Sunday in Advent
• Light two purple candles
• Read Mark 1:4
Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your
Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the way. We who
like sheep have gone astray have found the way to
you through Jesus Christ. We give you thanks and
praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns
with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, Amen.

(Opt) Sing: Come Thou long expected Jesus

On the Third Sunday in Advent
• Light Two purple candles and the Rose Candle
• Read Isaiah 35:10
Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your
Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who brings us great joy.
We who have walked in the shadow of the valley of
death have found life in the resurrection of Jesus
Christ. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name,
because he lives and reigns with you in your glory,
and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

(Opt) Sing: Joyful, joyful we adore thee

On the Fourth Sunday in Advent
• Light all the purple candles and The Rose Candle
• Read Isaiah 9:6-7
Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your
Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of
Peace. We who live in discord and strife have found
peace in the promise of eternal life, through Jesus
Christ. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name,
because he lives and reigns with you in your glory,
and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

(Opt) Sing: Come Thou long expected Jesus

On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day
Remember, it isn’t Christmas Eve until sundown on
December 24!
• Light all the purple candles the Rose Candle and the white candle
• Read Luke 1:68-79 and Luke 2:1-20
We praise you, Lord God, because on this day, your
Word became flesh in our Savior Jesus Christ, was
born of a woman, and walked among us as a man.
Help us to imitate your incarnation, by manifesting
our faith in our conduct as well as in our speech. To
you, O Lord, we give our honor, praise, worship, and
love, in the most holy and precious name of the One
who is born today; because He lives and reigns with
you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

(Opt) Sing on Christmas Eve: Silent night
On Christmas Day: Hark, the herald angels sing, O come all ye faithful

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chose Life Story, Samuel living with Thanatophoric Dysplasia

As most of you know my nephew Samuel was born with a condition called Thanatophoric Dysplasia which is a condition that is considered incompatible with life. My Sister-in-law and brother-in-law went against Doctors wishes and did not have a therapeutic abortion. A few weeks ago Spirit FM 90.5 aired their story This is an audio file of that story that aired on Spirit FM.

Here is the audio Story/ Interview that aired

Here is a link to some pictures of my nephew Samuel
Update: On Miracle Baby Samuel Born With Thanatophoric Dysplasia, Turns 4 years old!

Samuel's Caring Bridge Website

Tags: long-term thanatophoric survival, living thanatophoric dwarf, thanatophoric dwarf turns 3, laughing and happy child with thanatophoric dysplasia, Living with thanatophoric dysplasia, surviving thanatophoric dysplasia, living on a ventilator

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is anyone truly scared of global warming?

In light of many global warming demonstrations today- I want to ask - Who is really afraid of global warming?

First off I am a skeptic of man-made global warming. If the earth is truly warming, I don't think it is simply because of carbon dioxide- I think, if it plays a role at all, it is insignificant to natural causes. See article:
Global Warming - Is Carbon Dioxide Getting a Bad Rap?

I will admit that I am ignorant of the science, but I learned in school that carbon dioxide is what the plants breathed and then gave off oxygen. I think carbon dioxide would be a boon to plants along with global warming. In warmer climates is when there was the greatest diversity of species too.

Secondly I really am not scared at all. - If it is true, then things will just shift. One economy or area may collapse but others will reap the benefits. Some area may become desert but other areas new bread baskets. People would move and economies would shift. Not all that scary to me. I am just not getting it. Hmm maybe relocation to Canada or Siberia LOL

I am much more terrified of global thermal nuclear annihilation.

Although I am not truly concerned about global warming, I am concerned about reducing pollution. I want to breathe fresh air. Reduction of pollution is simply a good idea on it's own merits.

Just throwing this out for conversation since this blog, is a bit slow, but I am also interested in others opinions. Is anyone truly scared of global warming? Why or why not? My mind is open to the topic and my opinion is always subject to change.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wow- John Michael Talbot is a Convert to the Catholic Church -- I never Knew

Wow, I have loved John Michael Talbot's music for over 20 years (Way before I was Catholic)- Actually for probably 15 of those years I didn't even realize he was Catholic. You would have thought the monks robe he was wearing would have given it away LOL I guess I never paid attention to the CD cover art. I never knew his story or that at one period in his life he was very anti-Catholic. I found his Christian testimony on you tube and just all I can say is Wow!
The actual testimony starts in segment 1/5 at the 5 minute mark. It is 5 segments and is therefore relatively long but it is well worth a listen.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Clearing Up Fundamentalist Misconceptions on Purgatory and Limbo

(This is taken from the Comment section of an older post that I wrote)

A Fundamentalist friend of mine asked me the following question:

The question with limbo, though, seems one of salvation to me because if an unbaptized baby were to go to purgatory, wouldn't the family need to know that so they could be praying toward that end?

Short Answer No.

First off: People don't need to be prayed out of Purgatory. We are suppose to pray for one another and prayers are helpful in all situations but people don't need to be prayed out of purgatory. If one is in purgatory they will go to heaven.

Secondly: I don't believe babies who may be forgiven of original sin (through ordinary means meaning water baptism or extraordinary means meaning any other way God chooses) would go to purgatory. If you have no actual sins like babies don't, there is no need for purgatory. Read my whole post to hopefully get a clearer explanation.

Misconceptions on Purgatory

Purgatory is not necessarily a place. It is a state of being or more specifically the state of final purification before entering heaven if needed. Not everyone goes to Purgatory. Some go straight to Heaven. Everyone that goes to Purgatory will go to Heaven

Ex. We say the pregnant mom has gone into or is IN labor. Is labor a Place? No, it is a condition.

Biblical Concept

1 Corinthians 3:15 (New American Standard Bible) 15If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Matthew 12:32 (New American Standard Bible) 32"Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Christ refers to the sinner who "will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come" (Matt. 12:32), suggesting that one can be freed after death of the consequences of certain other sins, but not blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, Paul tells us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. And what happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test? "He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Cor 3:15). Now this loss, this penalty, can’t refer to consignment to hell, since no one is saved there; and heaven can’t be meant, since there is no suffering ("fire") there. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory explains this passage.

I have seen Baptists that use the 1 Cor 3:15 passage in support of the Once Saved Always Saved concept saying that this shows a backslidden Christian is still saved if just barely.

Hebrews 12:1 (New American Standard Bible)
1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Revelation 21:27 (New American Standard Bible)27and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

If sin still clings to Christians and can entangle them (Heb 12:1), but there is no sin in heaven (Rev. 21:27), there must be a purification that takes place after one’s death and before one enters heaven. Even if it were "in the blink of an eye," this final stage of sanctification must take place, so those who die in God’s favor may be cleansed if any affection for sin remains in them.

My understanding of purgatory at present. (keeping in mind I am a new Catholic and could have this not quite right.)
If we die with unconfessed, un-repented known and in most cases probably unknown sin that are not Mortal sins (And I don't want to get into the discussion of venial and mortal sins right now) there is a need for a final purification as with fire as in 1 Cor 3:15 before entering heaven. Some may die with no un-repented unconfessed sin and go directly to heaven with no need of purgation.

This brings me back to Babies , Young children and the Mentally handicapped etc.
All are born with original sin. However I think we can agree that these very young children, mentally handicapped do not have any "actual sins". To sin takes an understanding of what sin is.

Baptism is the ordinary means of removing original sin however we know that God can work through extraordinary means to remove original sin. An example the thief on the cross. God is not confined to a box. he is Almighty and can do what he wants. Catholics also recognize a merciful loving God and teach that is is possible to have a baptism of desire such as the thief on the cross. The idea being that he desired baptism but in the situation he was in, it was not possible. Can a baby desire baptism? I don't know.

My Bottom Line:
Anyway my view is that God has known that infant in the womb he knows the heart and he can chose to remove original sin at his discretion. We have no way of knowing. So lets assume God has removed and forgiven original sin of the infant. After original sin is forgiven the infant has no actual sins so therefore would go straight to heaven. There is no need of Purgatory in that case.

Now what is Limbo:

In the Middle Ages theologians came up with the theological construct of limbo, Limbo does get around two sticking points: the absence of sanctifying grace (the removal of original sin), which implies no possibility of heaven, and the absence of personal or actual sin, which implies no hell. Unbaptized infants die with neither, so it might seem that they are destined neither for heaven nor hell. Under this older understanding, unbaptized infants who die, whether through miscarriage or abortion, enjoy complete natural happiness but do not see God face to face. They are not in heaven or hell but in a third state, limbo.

This was a theory. I don't think there is any Biblical support for it and it wasn't doctrine.

The new Catechism understanding is that unbaptized infants, the unborn, the severely mentally handicapped, the brain injured etc. might be able to achieve sanctifying grace for original sin, though how this might happen no one can say with certitude.

Likewise no one in Protestantism can say unequivocally that all unsaved infants etc go to heaven. We can have hope that God knows best and I don't believe it is something we need to worry our heads about.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The History of the New Testament Canon Chart

The History of the New Testament Canon
by Dave Armstrong
Sources for the New Testament Canon Chart (all Protestant): J. D. Douglas, ed., New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 196), 194-198;F.L. Cross and E.A. Liivingstone, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 232, 300, 309-310, 626, 641, 724, 1049, 1069; Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, From God To Us: How We Got Our Bible (Chicago Moody Press, 1974), 109-112, 117-125.

Explanation of Symbols:
* Book accepted (or quoted)
? Book personally disputed or mentioned as disputed
x Book rejected, unknown or not cited

New Testament Period and Apostolic Fathers (30-160)

Summary: The New Testament is not clearly distinguished from other Christian writings.

Gospels: Generally accepted by 130
Justin Martyr's "Gospels" contain apocryphal material
Polycarp first uses all four Gospels now in Scripture
Acts: Scarcely known or quoted
Pauline Corpus: Generally accepted by 130, yet quotations are rarely introduced
as scriptural
Philippians, 1 Timothy: x Justin Martyr
Hebrews: Not considered canonical; not even quoted
x Polycarp, Justin Martyr
James: Not considered canonical; not even quoted
x Polycarp, Justin Martyr
1 Peter: Not considered canonical
2 Peter: Not Considered conaoninical, nor cited
1,2,3 John: Not considered canonical
x Justin Martyr
Revelation: Not canonical
x polycarp

Iranaeus to Origen (160-250ad)

Summary: Awareness of Canon begins toward the end of the second century
Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria first use the phrase
"New testament"

Gospels: Accepted
Acts: Gradually Accepted
Pauline Corpus: Accepted with some exceptions
2 Timothy: x Clement of Alexandria
Philemon: x Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria
Hebrews: Not canonical before the fourth century in the West
? Origen
* First accepted by Clement of Alexandria
James: Not canonical
? First mentioned by Origen
x Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria
1 Peter: Gradual acceptance
* First accepted by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria
2 peter: Not Canonical
?First mentioned by Origen
x Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria
1 John: Gradual acceptance
* First accepted by Irenaeus
x Origen
2 John: Not Canonical
? Origen
x Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria
3 John: Not cononical
? Origen
x Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria
Jude: Gradual Acceptance
*Clement of Alexandria
x Origen
Revelation: Gradual acceptance
* First accepted by Clement of Alexandria
x Barococcio Canon, c.206
Epistle of Barnabas: * Clement of Alexandria
Shepherd of Hermas: *Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Clement of Alexandria
The Didache: * Clement of Alexandria, Origen
The Apocalypse of Peter: *Clement of Alexandria
The Acts of Paul: *Origen
* Appears in Greek, Latin Syriac, Armenian, and Arabic translations
Gospel of Hebrews: * Clement of Alexandria
Muratorian Canon (c.190)
Excludes Hebrews, James, 1 peter, 2 Peter
Includes the Apocalypse of Peter, Wisdom of Solomon

Origen to Nicaea (250-325)

Summary: The "Catholic epistles" and Revelation are still being disputed

Gospels, Acts, Pauline Corpus: Accepted
Hebrews: * Accepted in the East
x,? Still disputed in the West
James: x, ? Still disputed in the East
x Not accepted in the West
1 Peter: Fairly well accepted
2 Peter Still disputed
1 John: Fairly well accepted
2,3 John, Jude: Still disputed
Revelation: Disputed, especially in the East
x Dionysis

Council of Nicaea (325)
Questions canonicity of James, 2 peter, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude

From 325 to the Council of Carthage (397)

Summary: St Athanasius first lists our present twenty-seven new testament books as such in 367. Disputes still persits concerning several books, almost right up until 397, when the Canon is authoritatively closed.

Gospels, Acts, Pauline Corpus, 1 Peter, 1 John: Accepted
Hebrews: Eventually accepted in the West
James: Slow acceptance
Not even quoted in the West until around 350!
2 Peter: Eventually accepted
Revelation: Eventually Aaccepted
x Cyril of Jerusalem, john Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen
Epistle of Barnabas: * Codex Sinaiticus- late fourth century
Shepherd of Hermes: *Codex Sinaiticus- late fourth century
1 Clement, 2 Clement: *Codex Alexandria-- early fifth century

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Early Church: How did they interpret the Scriptures?

What were the early Christians like? What were the first churches like? What were the churches like that the Apostles founded? What did those early Christians believe? Did they just baptize adults or did they also baptize infants? Did they pour, immerse or both? Did they believe in Jesus's real presence in the Eucharist?

Yes I can go to the Bible, but I need to interpret and understand the things written in the Bible the way Jesus and the Apostles understood and taught them.

I can't ask Jesus directly. For instance, I can't say "Hey Jesus what did you mean when you said this?" or "Apostles what did Jesus really mean?

One way to get the answers to these questions is to see how the early Christians understood what Jesus and the Apostles taught. What did they believe? These early Christians were taught by the Apostles who were in turn taught directly by Jesus. How did they Interpret Scripture. An Infallible Bible can be interpreted fallibly- so it is indeed important to ask how the Apostles and early church interpreted Scripture. The Bible was not completely written or canonized at this time. The early Church had to rely on the Apostles teaching who in turn taught their successors. Amazingly the early Church looks a lot closer to the Catholic Church today than the reinvented Church of the Reformers or modern fundamentalism.

The Christians that lived in the first Century all have very Catholic views. Not a Baptist among them.

JustAServant (From a forum I read) has put together this timeline (you can compare it to others) This timeline is within a 100 year period between the Resurrection of Christ to Justin Martyr (roughly 130 AD.) Think of it from World War 2 on. There are people still alive to remember the events.

JustAServant does not claim this timeline to be exact, but it's pretty close: He has given me permission to use his thread on my blog.

This list includes the books of the New Testament that were eventually canonized and also many early documents, that have been preserved, that were written at the time of Apostles. They show what these early Christians believed and how they interpreted Jesus's words.

Of course not all these documents became scripture. Some of them are more like finding ancient Church bulletins, ancient Church service outlines, the Pastor's notes, or music hymnals. These things aren't scripture, but you can learn what the early Christians believed and how they interpreted Scripture from them. Just like you can understand how modern fundamentalists understand and interpret the Bible by looking at Scofield and Moody's notes.

c. 30-33 - The death and resurrection of Jesus
c. 35 - The conversion of Paul
40s or 50s - James
c. 45-49 - Paul's first missionary journey
Sometime between 48 and 58 - Paul writes Galatians
c. 50-53 - Paul's second missionary journey
50s - Paul writes Titus
50s or 60s - Mark written (based on oral tradition set down by Peter).
50s or 60s - Matthew written
51 - Paul writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians
c. 53-57 - Paul's third missionary journey
Spring of 55 - Paul writes 1 Corinthians
56 - Paul writes 2 Corinthians
c. 57 - Paul writes Romans
c. 60 - Paul writes Colossians, probably while in prison in Rome
c. 60 - Paul writes Philemon, probably while in prison in Rome
c. 60 - Paul writes Ephesians, probably while in prison in Rome
c. 61 - Paul writes Philippians, while in prison in Rome
Early 60s - Luke written
c. 60-70 - The Didache is written.
c. 62 - Paul is free
c. 62-64 - Luke writes Acts
c. 62-64 - Paul writes 1 Timothy
July 18-19, 64 - The Great Fire of Rome. Emperor Nero blamed the Christians, and a great persecution ensued.
Mid 60s - 1 Peter written
c. 64-68 - Paul writes 2 Timothy from prison
c. 67-68 - 2 Peter
c. 68 - Hebrews is written
June 9, 68 - The death of Nero. Sometime between the Great Fire of Rome and the death of Nero, both Peter and Paul were martyred.
c. 69 - Jude
70 - The Seige of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple
c. 70-80- The Epistle of Barnabus is written.
c. 85 - John written
Late First Century - 1, 2, and 3 John
95- The Epistle of Clement is written..
c. 95-96 - John writes Revelation
c. 60-120- The writings of Papias (only fragments remain).
c. 105- The Epistles of Ignatius are written as he heads for Rome for execution.
c. 105-125- The Epistle of Polycarp is written.
c. 125-130- The Letter to Diognetus is written.
c. 125-130- The Epistle of Aristides is written.
c. 130- The Martyrdom of Polycarp is written.
c. 130-150- The Shepherd of Hermas is written.
c.100-165- The writings of Justin Martyr, much of it written in the 130s.

So, lets see.
The Resurrection is now 70 years old, and here is what Ignatuis says about the Eucharist:

Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes
Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7:1.

. . . and are now ready to obey your bishop and clergy with undivided minds and to share in the one common breaking of bread – the medicine of immortality, and the sovereign remedy by which we escape death and live in Jesus Christ for evermore
Letter to the Ephesians 20.


And, oh dear...look at what the Didache says about Baptism:

After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water, and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Before baptism, let the one baptizing and the one to be baptized fast, as also any others who are able. Command the one who is to be baptized to fast beforehand for one or two days
Didache 7:1.

And, oh, look what Clement of Rome has to say about Saved by Faith and Works, and Not Faith Alone:

"Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride. 'For God,' saith [the Scripture], 'resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.' Let us cleave, then, to those to whom grace has been given by God. Let us clothe ourselves with concord and humility, ever exercising self-control, standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words."
Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians, 30.

"For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith?"
Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians, 31.

"All these, therefore, were highly honored, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians, 32.


Oh, and compare what Ignatius says about the Eucharist:

...the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ.....
Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7:1.
to what John wrote in his Gospel just twenty years before:

John 6 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.


Compare this verse Luke wrote in Acts:

Acts 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'
to this statement by Barnabus probably only a decade or so later:

"Blessed are they who, placing their trust in the cross, have gone down into the water...we indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilement, but come up, bearing fruit in our heart, having the fear [of God] and trust in Jesus in our spirit." (The Epistle of Barnabas, Chapter 11

How did these early first generation Christians describe themselves?

Where the bishop is to be seen, there let all his people be; just as, wherever Jesus Christ is present, there is the Catholic Church
Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2.

When finally he concluded his prayer, after remembering all who had at any time come his way – small folk and great folk, distinguished and undistinguished, and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world – the time for departure came. So they placed him on an ***, and brought him into the city on a great Sabbath
The Martyrdom of Polycarp 8.

Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham, in ‘Beginning Apologetics 1 ( say;

“Please note that the Early Church always accepted the Bishop of Rome as the head of the Church. Around AD 80, the Church of Corinth deposed it’s lawful leaders. The fourth bishop of Rome, Pope Clement I, was called to settle the matter even though St. John the Apostle was still alive and much closer to Corinth than was Rome.

St Irenaus, who was taught by St. Polycarp (a disciple of St. John the Apostle), stresses that Christians must be united to the Church of Rome in order to maintain the Apostolic Tradition. He then lists all the bishops of Rome up to his time.

For 250 years the Roman Emperors tried to destroy Christianity through persecution. In the first 200 years of Christianity, every Pope but one was martyred-the Romans certainly knew who the head of the Church was!”

St. Ignatius of Antioch (AD 110) appointed by St. Peter also recognizes Rome’s Primacy.

Also the books by William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, (Collegeville, MN; Liturgical Press 1970) go into much more detail.
It is a matter of recorded history who the successors of the Apostles were.


"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).

“We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. (ibid.)


"When I had come to Rome, I [visited] Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. And after Anicetus [died], Soter succeeded, and after him Eleutherus. In each succession and in each city there is a continuance of that which is proclaimed by the law, the prophets, and the Lord" (Memoirs, cited in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4:22 [A.D. 180]).


"1It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about.

"2But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul—that church which has the tradition and the faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition.

"3The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in the epistle to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21]. To him succeeded Anencletus, and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that he still heard the echoes of the preaching of the apostles and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were many still remaining who had been instructed by the apostles. In the time of Clement, no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the Church in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace and renewing their faith. . . To this Clement, Evaristus succeeded. . . and now, in the twelfth place after the apostles, the lot of the episcopate [of Rome] has fallen to Eleutherus. In this order, and by the teaching of the apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us.

"4Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time" (Against Heresies 3:3:1-4 [A.D. 189])..
Regarding Clement's Letter to the Corinthians, the point of mentioning this is that it illustrates the authority of the Bishop of Rome exercised over another diocese (Corinth). IOW, the Corinthians accepted Clement's letter and NO ONE questioned Clement's authority to intervene. Why? Precisely because Clement was the successor of Peter, the head of the universal Church.

Also, within a generation we have Justin Martyr's description of the Mass:

St. Justin Martyr - circa 155

On the day we call the day of the sun [Sunday], all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place [the church].

The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits. [The Liturgy of the Word]

When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. [The homily]

Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves . . .and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation. [Prayers of the Faithful]

When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. [Sign of Peace]

Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. [The Offeratory]

He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts. [The Eucharistic Prayer]

When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: 'Amen.' [The Great Amen]

When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the "eucharisted" [this is something special... not just bread] bread [Communion], wine and water and take them to those who are absent.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scriptures that support the Catholic view of salvation

I started compiling a list of all the Scriptures that support the Catholic view of salvation and this is just what I have compiled so far.

The Plan of Salvation as put forth by many Fundamentalists is this:
1) acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.
2.) we recognize that only God can save us.
3.) acknowledge Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins and to bring us to God.
4.) the final step is that each individual accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior to be saved.”

But What Does the Bible Say
Looking only from Scriptures you can see the typical Protestant plan of Salvation is not complete. It is truncated.

To Answer the Question
How are we saved? How can we attain eternal Life?
To be Saved= To have eternal life in the presence of God

What Saves/Justifies/Sanctifies /Procures Eternal Life

I. By God - God's Grace Alone
1 Corinthians 1:18
[ The Wisdom of God ] For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Ephesians 2:5
even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved),
Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
2 Timothy 1:9
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
(He did not call us because of our works done on our own without grace)
John 10:28
and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
(But one always has free will to leave and one can lose faith)

Everything Below is only possible because of and with God’s Grace

II. Belief (But True Belief is demonstrated in Obeying- If one truly believes they obey)

John 3:15
so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
John 3:16
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:36
"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
John 5:24
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
John 6:40
"For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."
John 6:47
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
(But in Context this vs goes onto show how that belief is turned into action- John 6:53-54 53So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
54"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.)

III. Repentance of Sin
Matthew 3:2
" Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matthew 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, " Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."
Acts 17:30"Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
Acts 20:21solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 26:20but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

IV. Christ, Through Christ, Following Christ
Matthew 16:25
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 19:21 21Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."21Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
Matthew 19:29
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
Mark 8:35
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.
Luke 9:24
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.
John 3:17
"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
John 10:9
" I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Romans 5:9
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
1 Timothy 1:15
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among
Mark 10:21 21Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

V. God's Word
James 1:21
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
John 6:68
Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

VI. Not In The Scriptures/ The Scripture are just a Testament
John 5:39
[ Witness of the Scripture ] " You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

VII. Obey Christ
John 3:36
"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
Matthew 7:21 21"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
2 Thessalonians 1:8
dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

VIII. Works = Faith+Action (but not Works done without Faith or apart from Grace)
Luke 7:50
And He said to the woman, " Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
(If you look at the Vs just preceding this it lists all her works- Her works were the result of her Faith- Jesus sites her works)
Romans 5:10
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
1 Corinthians 15:2
by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
James 2:14
[ Faith and Works ] What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
Matthew 25:45-46 45"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
John 4:36
"Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
See Also The Parables
Most Show Faith in Action/ Works or Producing Good Fruit

IX. Baptism
Mark 16:16
" He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.
(Note: Belief involves Action they can't be separted- the Follow Through is Baptism-)
Acts 2:38
Peter said to them, " Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:47
praising God and having favor with all the people And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 11:14-15
14and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.'
15"And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.
(Note: Not just Baptism but the proper words need to be Spoken-)
Acts 16:29-33
29And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,
30and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.
33And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

(Again they Believed but it had to be followed through with Action- You can't have believe without action. Action or Works Perfect Faith)

Titus 3:5
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
1 Peter 3:21
Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

X. The Eucharist
John 6:54
"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:47-58 47"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.48"I am the bread of life.49"Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.50"This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."52Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"53So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.54"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.55"For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.56"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.57"As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58"This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread (T)will live forever."

XI. Calling on the Name of Christ
Acts 2:21
Acts 4:12
"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
Romans 10:9
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
Romans 10:13

XII. Must Persevere to the End

Matthew 10:22
" You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.
Matthew 24:13
" But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
Mark 13:13
" You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
1 Corinthians 9:27
but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

XIII. Salvation a Process
2 Corinthians 2:15
For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
Philippians 2:12
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

XIV. Salvation comes Through the Church (The Visible Church because she preaches God's word -- Evangelizes the World-- The Great Commission-- Also us individual Christians that make up the Church)
Romans 11:14
if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.
1 Corinthians 1:21
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 7:16
For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
1 Corinthians 9:22
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.
1 Corinthians 10:33
just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 15:2
by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
1 Thessalonians 2:16
hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.
James 5:20
let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Update: On Miracle Baby Samuel Born With Thanatophoric Dysplasia, Turns 4 years old!

Samuel is my nephew his mom is my sister-in-law Evelyn. Our husbands are brothers. This was an old post. Samuel Turned 6 in 2011 and his mom now has her own blog.

Samuel's Mom now has her own blog at:

(new update: of 11/10/2009 A few weeks ago Spirit FM 90.5 aired their story. Here is the audio Story/ Interview that aired)

Yeah! Another Birthday- I can't believe it has been another whole year!!

For anybody new-- here is a little information about Samuel :

He was born a Thanatophoric Dwarf. It is Also called Thanatophoric Dysplasia. It is a condition considered incompatible with life. Only very few have ever been known to survive into early childhood. Samuel will turn 4 years old this Sunday and miracle of miracles he is breathing on his own off the ventilator for short periods of time. According to doctors he was never suppose to be able to do that. Check out his website where his mom keeps a journal. Feel Free to Sign his guest book and wish him a very happy 4th Birthday. I know he and his family will appreciate it greatly and please keep them in your prayers.

Yeah to Samuel and his Family.

This is Samuel.
Samuel with his mom

Tags: long-term thanatophoric survival, living thanatophoric dwarf, thanatophoric dwarf turns 3, laughing and happy child with thanatophoric dysplasia

Boy I'm tuckered out. Just too much excitement!

Hey you-- get down on the floor and play with me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Justification by Love in Scripture and Catholic Dogma

I was reading through some of my old notes and came across this. It is very well written and one of the clearest explanations of  justification as taught by the Bible and the Catholic church. Unfortunately I do not remember where I got it or the original author or poster, but I have looked up the references mentioend and they are correct.

Justification by Love in Scripture and Catholic Dogma

When one considers the course of history, the event with the greatest impact is clearly the coming of Jesus Christ.  However, second only to this would appear to be the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.  The changes that this period caused in the world were far reaching, encompassing almost all areas of human thought and life.  Many direct results of the Protestant Reformation are still coming about through the ripples of history even today.  Indeed, this makes perfect sense to any person of faith.  All the world exists because of His act of creation, and everything that exists operates according to the blueprint with which He made it.  Given this, it is obvious that any change in the relationship mankind has with God will have a dramatic impact on the relationship mankind has with himself. 



As has already been alluded to, while we can recognize the Reformation to be the cause of so many changes in the world, the Reformation was itself a change in man’s understanding of his relationship to God.  The real causes of this change in understanding are many, and are the matter for another discussion altogether, but it will suffice, and indeed be requisite, for our purposes to look to two primary principles lying behind it: Sola Scriptura, and Sola FideSola Scriptura is the overarching term for what is now a variety of beliefs all of which concern themselves in at least some way with the idea that all truths about God are to be derived from the Holy Scriptures alone, apart from any Tradition.  This was called the formal principal of the Reformation, because it gives form to the rest of the objections raised by the Protestants against the Catholic Church.  An overview of this concept can be found here.  Similarly, Sola Fide is the doctrine which holds that man is justified – that is, made right with God - by faith in Christ alone, apart from any works.  This was given the title of the material principle of the Reformation, because it is what the Reformation was made out of, practically speaking.  It is with this idea that we are now concerned.



This point is a critical one indeed, as it pertains directly to the eternal destiny of all the souls of the world.  Christianity has the notion of salvation as its very core.  It is the only religion in the world, to my knowledge, based upon the principle of the forgiveness of sins.  The two destinations of Heaven and Hell, in either of which each and every soul will spend all of eternity, really lie at Christianity’s core.  The entire reason for one being a Christian, at least in a very real and practical way, is to escape the eternal suffering of Hell and reach the eternal happiness of Heaven.  Thus, how one actually is justified is of the greatest importance; if one misses this, he misses the entire point of Christianity.



Unfortunately, there are a great many teachings on this matter in Christianity today.  Up until the Reformation, the Catholic Church, in Her councils and Traditions, was recognized as the source of all true teaching.  Even those in the East, who were separated from the Church, did so almost entirely for matters of obedience, rather than any substantial doctrinal matters.  Today, the Eastern churches share virtually all beliefs with the Catholic Church, albeit using sometimes very different terminology.  The point to this is simply that after the Reformation, new Christian groups began to spring up - slowly at first, and then more and more rapidly – teaching any number of different and conflicting doctrines.  The central idea of justification was not immune to this phenomenon. 



As a result, not only are their various views on the matter, but the ensuing debate over these views has left many with even very erroneous ideas about what a given group actually teaches.  Matters of Christian doctrine are of the utmost importance, and so believers naturally strive for truth. Christ said that He Himself is the truth after all, and thus out of true love for Him, people, seeking to avoid the slightest hint of error, tend to in any discussion misunderstand opposing viewpoints. Particularly, it is common for those seeking Truth Himself to argue themselves into a misunderstanding.  When one group disagrees with another over some matter, the fear of making the slightest error in understanding easily leads to an emphasis on the points disagreed over, which can often distort the true meaning of the opposing view.  Even those defending their own view can easily grow to misunderstand it in the same way.  Because the Catholic Church has been questioned more than any other Christian group, it is not then surprising that countless people misunderstand what She actually teaches, including Catholics.



This is especially true of the question of justification.  The conversation between Protestants and Catholics over this so central a matter of the faith has grown to be recognized as the debate between the adherents to the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the adherents of the doctrine of justification by faith and works.  This terminology has been even further emphasized because the Scriptural verse in which the Catholic Church finds Her primary defense against the Protestant doctrine of Sola Fide happens to mention works: “You see then, that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (Jam 2:24).  The real argument however, is between the concept of justification by faith alone and the concept of justification by faith and love, not works.  With that being said, it is the purpose of this article to present the Catholic Church’s true teaching on the matter of justification, drawing from the Councils and teaching documents of the Church, and presenting Scripture’s teaching on the matter systematically alongside.



In the beginning, man was created in justice.  Mankind had communion with God, and no animosity existed between them.  The Scriptures teach that the state of justice, which justification restores to man, consists in knowing God.  In John 17:3, Jesus defines eternal life itself as knowing God: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  John also indicates this in his first epistle, where he uses the terminology of ‘knowing God’ to explain being in a state of justice before God (for example, see 1 John 2:3-4).  When Jesus describes the condemnation of the unjust souls in Matthew 25, He does so on the basis that they were not known by God.  In Genesis, we see that Adam and Eve did know God.  God placed them in the garden, where they walked with Him.  They were not afraid of Him, and they believed and trusted Him.  They had a communion with Him.  For this reason, the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that, “The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator…” (#373).  



Adam and Eve were also created without the need to die, a need that only came through the sin of Adam, as the apostle Paul teaches in Romans: “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin” (5:12).  It was through this first sin that man lost his friendship with God, and that death became a necessity for all men.  The Council of Trent - which was called to respond to the Protestant Reformation and which is the most authoritative document of the Church’s on the matters of justification - teaches that with Adam’s sin, he “drew upon himself the wrath and indignation of God and consequently death with which God had threatened him…” (Session 5, #1).  The Church also teaches that this new state of being affected not Adam alone, but all of his descendants (Trent, Session 5, #2).  The Scriptures convey this point in Romans, in which Paul writes, “one trespass led to condemnation for all men” (5:18), and “by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners” (5:19). 



Adam and Eve, as their punishment, were cast out of the garden in which God dwelt, and therefore lost friendship and fellowship with God.  In the chapters of Genesis following the fall, Adam and Eve were still aware of God’s existence, but they were still not in a proper relationship with Him.  They believed in Him, but they did not have a relationship with Him.  They no longer knew Him, but merely knew of Him.  In Genesis 5:24, when Enoch is taken up to Heaven, it is described as Enoch walking with God, as Adam and Eve had in the garden.  Abraham, the great Old Testament saint whom both Paul and James use as an example of justification, is described as being a “friend of God” (2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23).  The Book of Exodus explains that, “the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”  Adam and Even knew of God, but Enoch and Abraham and Moses knew God; they were in God’s justice, which consists of knowing God.  This is a critical point which will be returned to later, so please make a particular effort to keep it in mind.   



After this first sin, man is unable to reconcile himself to God.  The Council of Trent teaches that all men are “unable to liberate themselves and to rise from that state” of being unjust before God (Session 6, Chapter 1).  Christ is the only path to a new relationship with God, as the Scriptures teach: “his Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).  This teaching is so abundant in Church documents so as not to require a reference.  Justification is this reconciliation with God which man by himself cannot achieve.  The Council of Trent defines justification as “the transition from the state in which one is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and adoption as children of God (see Romans 8:15) through the second Adam, Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Session 6, Chapter 4). 



Another key point on which all agree is that man is justified by Grace alone.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains what Grace is:


Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God Gives us to respond to his call to become children of God (John 1:12-18, 17:3), adoptive sons (Romans 8:14-17), partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4) and of eternal life. (#1996) 


Grace alone saves men, because Grace is a free gift of God without which no man can be saved.  The Council of Trent teaches that Grace is the only means by which any person is saved.  It is a passage worth quoting at length:


The council moreover declares that in adults the beginning of justification must be attributed to God’s prevenient grace through Jesus Christ, that is, to his call addressed to them without any previous merits of theirs.  This, those who through their sins were turned away from God, awakened and assisted by his grace, are disposed to turn to their own justification by freely assenting to and cooperating with that grace.  In this way, God touches the heart of the human being with the illumination of the Holy Spirit, but one is not inactive while receiving the inspiration, since one can reject it; and yet, without God’s grace, one cannot by one’s own free will take one step towards justice in God’s sight (Session 6, Chapter 5).


Thus it is seen that only by Grace may a man be justified.  The teaching does emphasize man’s free will, because man must accept God’s grace.  The Scriptures teach this, such as in Acts, wherein Stephen insists that the people “always resist the Holy Spirit” (7:51), or in Matthew, where Jesus says He has long desired to gather the people of Israel but they were “unwilling” (23:37).



Nevertheless, the teaching that man must cooperate with Grace does not detract from the fact that by Grace alone may one be justified, as the Council goes on to insist that “without God’s grace, one cannot by one’s own free will take one step towards justice in God’s sight.”  It further establishes this in Session 6, wherein the first Canon, which is considered to be of the level of infallible dogma by the Catholic Church, declares the absolute need for Grace in the strongest possible terms:


If anyone says that, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, one can be justified by one’s own works, whether they be done by one’s own natural powers or through he teaching of the Law, let him be anathema.


What’s more, Grace is far more than a mere help or assistance of some kind.  The Catholic Church teaches that it is Grace alone which saves us.  Canon 2 condemns the idea that “divine grace is given through Jesus Christ only in order that one may more easily live justly and merit eternal life…”



In fact, the Catholic Church goes so far as to teach that man cannot even believe in God without Grace.  The third Canon of Session 6 declares,


If anyone says that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Spirit and without his help one can believe, hope and love or be repentant, as is required, so that the grace of justification be bestowed on one, let him be anathema.


This is the same teaching as the apostle Paul offers in his epistle to the Ephesians.  It is chapter 2 verses 8 and 9, a passage that Protestants often cite against the Catholic Church: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Even a man’s faith, the Church declares along with Paul, is a Grace of God, rather than something man has done himself.  Nevertheless, man must cooperate with this Grace, and must not resist or reject it, as the Council and Scriptures teach, some of which teachings have been cited above.



Up until this point, there is a large degree of - though imperfect - agreement between Catholics and Protestants.  The differences are not important enough to the present discussion to elaborate on here.  Suffice it to say that, up until this point, there is a general agreement on the need for salvation for all men, and on the inability of man to reconcile himself with God.  All agree that Jesus Christ came, God in the flesh, to die for man’s sins so that men may be reconciled to God through Him.  He is a man who knew God better than any other, because He Himself was God, and so He is the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).  All agree that man is justified by grace alone.  All agree that man is justified by faith, as the Scriptures make it so plain that this is the case. 



The disagreement arises over whether man is justified through Christ the Mediator by faith alone or not.  The primary difficulty can be summed up by referring to two verses.  Protestants cite Romans 3:28, in which the apostle Paul states that “we hold that man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”  Catholics respond with James, who insists “you see that man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.”  The basic resolution of this problem has been written on extensively, and is readily available elsewhere.  While it is a worthwhile, and indeed important, study to undertake, this article seeks to approach the issue from a perhaps more important, and certainly less frequently approached, standpoint 



The problems is that the traditional disagreement poses the doctrines of salvation by ‘faith alone’ and ‘faith plus works’ against one another, as if ‘faith plus works’ is the doctrine of the Catholic Church, while Her official teaching does not contain this emphasis on works.  In fact, the most official Catholic statement concerning James 2:24 is one which teaches something Protestants are inclined to agree with, at least in part.  Chapter 10 of Trent’s 6th Session teaches on the increase in justification that man may receive once He has already been justified:


When ‘faith is active along with works’ (James 2:22), [the justified] increase in the very justice they have received through the grace of Christ, and are further justified, as it is written… ‘You see that one is justified by works and not by faith alone’ (James 2:24).


Most Protestants would agree with this insofar as it means that faith and good works done by those already justified earn greater Heavenly rewards.  However, the Church does not teach that this verse means that works themselves justify a person apart from faith, or apart from the Grace of God, as is evident from the passages of Trent cited above.  Many Catholics, because of the arguments over works had with Protestants, unfortunately believe that this is what the Church does teach. 



The true teaching of the Church is at the same time much more complicated and much more beautiful.  It begins with the idea that justification is not only external, but internal as well; Protestants most often disagree.  To the Protestant, justification is merely a decision whereby God declares man not guilty in view of the offering of Jesus Christ.  Man is still unjust in fact, but God accepts him into Heaven anyways, because of the sacrifice of Christ.  Martin Luther explained this idea by use of an analogy.  He compared sinful man to a pile of dung.  By faith in Christ, the Savior would cover this dung with snow.  Beneath the snow, the man was really still dung, but God would look at the man as if he were really snow.  This idea is known as imputation of righteousness because it holds that Christ’s righteousness is merely imputed – assigned - to the justified.  At last we come to this point, which is really where the entire disagreement lies.



The Catholic Church’s teaching is that righteousness is infused – really put into – the justified.  It holds that man is not only forgiven in justification by some assignment of Christ’s righteousness to them, but he is also made righteous inside.  It is the difference between covering the dung with snow and actually turning the dung into snow.  This teaching can be found in the Council of Trent:


…justification itself… is not only the remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior person through the voluntary reception of grace and of the gifts, whereby from unjust the person becomes just, and from enemy a friend, that one may be “an heir in hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). (Session 6, Chapter 7)


Immediately, the statement that justification makes men the friends of God jumps out, calling to mind the earlier point that justice is in some way equivalent to knowing God.         


Of course, it is true that nobody is good except God alone, as Jesus teaches in Matthew 19:17, which is why the means by which a person is made righteous is by the infusion of the Holy Spirit and the virtues which He instills in men.  Trent speaks to this in Chapter 7 of Session 6, teaching that in justification “’God’s love is poured through the Holy Spirit into the hearts’(Romans 5:5) of those who are being justified and inheres in them.”  The quotation that Trent makes here is one of the strongest teachings in the Scriptures on this matter, and it will be returned to later.  However, there are many other Scriptural presentations on this point.  God prophesied this through Ezekiel:


I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (36:26-27). 


Paul teaches in Romans that the justified are actually “made righteous,” (5:19), not just declared to be so.  In Ephesians he writes that the justified “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (4:24).  In Colossians 3:10, he writes that the justified “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”  It is important to notice all of the references to the image and likeness of God; this helps to indicate that man is not merely being forgiven, but is being restored to what he was before the fall, when he was created in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1:26).  At this time, man was truly free of sin and was internally righteous; he was “very good” according to God (see Genesis 1:31). 



Paul gives a tremendous amount of teaching on this matter.  In his letter to the Ephesians, he provides a rather concise presentation of it:


For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (3:14-19).


Here we see that the Holy Spirit works in the “inner being” of the justified, causing Christ to dwell in his hearts.  This causes him, through faith, to be rooted in love, which enables him to know Christ and His Love which is put within him, which is, as Jesus taught, the very nature of eternal salvation (John 17:3).  It is for this reason that he provides a test for believers in his second letter to the Corinthians to see if they are within the faith: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (13:5)  Those who are in the faith have Jesus Christ dwelling within them, and only those within the faith are justified.  



Paul goes on to provide even more extensive teaching on the inner change of the justified in his second letter to the Corinthians.  In chapter 5 verse 17, the apostle teaches that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  This shows beyond all doubt that man’s sins are not merely covered up, but he is literally changed into something new.  In chapter 4, he teaches that that “our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (verse 16).  This is a restatement of a more in depth point which Paul makes in 3:18: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” 



This is the very same point that James makes when he says that “man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (2:24).  As we do works day by day in Christ, our justification increases and we are more and more transformed into the image of Christ. Our share in the virtues infused by the Holy Spirit increases, and we grow to deeper faith, greater hope, and more complete love.  Protestants may have difficulty with this point, because most often they do not view justification as something which can increase; to Protestants, a man is either justified or he is not.  The Church teaches otherwise, and the multiple passages cited here provide good evidence for Her understanding.  Indeed, if this understanding is not correct, then James really does contradict Paul in teaching that a man is justified by works.  Justification is understood by the Church to be a true inner change, as these passages indicate.  If the link between all of these things is not yet completely clear, it will be after examining the true center of the entire process of justification, and indeed the center of everything: love.



The Scriptures are very, very clear that man cannot be justified without love.  John, in whose gospel Jesus equated eternal life with knowing God, writes in his first epistle that “whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (4:7-8).  In 1 John 3:14, he teaches that “Whoever does not love abides in death.”  St. Paul, along with the Council of Trent, identifies justification with being made children of God, and John teaches that it is the love of God which makes us His children: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (3:1).  Recall two of Trent’s teachings on justification that were mentioned above.  First, justification is the transition to being adopted as a child of God (Session 6, Chapter 4).  Second, justification occurs when the love of God is infused into the soul (Session 6, chapter 7).  In this verse, John explains that the love that God gives us makes us His children, encompassing these two teachings beautifully.  John further speaks against loving the world, warning that if one is to do this “the love of the Father is not in him” (2:15) This warning makes sense because the state of being justified consists of having the love of God in a person.  The examples from this epistle could be multiplied. 



St. Paul also speaks extensively of love.  As has already been cited, he teaches that God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).  In 1 Corinthians 2:9, he says that the rewards God has in Heaven are “for those who love Him.”  He writes to Timothy that women will be saved “if they continue in faith and love and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:15).  Perhaps the strongest statement in the entire Scriptures concerning love comes from Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:2, where he writes, “if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”  This, beyond all doubt, proves that man cannot be saved by faith without love.  The chapter ends with Paul teaching that “faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.”  The Council of Trent teaches on all of this, in the 7th chapter of Session 6:


For faith without hope and charity neither unites a person perfectly with Christ, nor makes one a living member of his body.  Therefore, it is rightly said that “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17) and unprofitable, and that “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).


This last passage cited by the Council shows what Paul means throughout the rest of Scripture when he speaks of faith: a faith that works through love. 



In Galatians 6:15, he makes a very similar statement which ties everything together: “For neither circumcision is of any avail nor uncircumcison, but a new creation.”  The new creation that the apostle Paul speaks of over and over in Scripture is a new creation of faith working through love.  Faith working through love is the means by which men are returned to the image and likeness of God, the righteous state that they were in before the fall.  It is the means by which man is brought to know God once more, and thus to inherit eternal life.  It is the means by which man is brought to become children of God.  It is the means by which man is justified.  Justification, then, is not a matter of faith and works, but of faith and love. 



When Paul speaks of faith, he refers to a faith that is open to acts of love - one that loves God and neighbor.  Faith without works is dead because faith without love is dead, and real love is something that works.  When Paul says that man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law, he means a faith that is open to love, not a mere intellectual belief.  Paul makes this clear in his famous teaching on what love is in 1 Corinthians 13, which he gives for the purpose of illustrating what this love is that he is nothing without:


Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).


All of these things that love does are works.  Indeed, there are more works that love might do, such as works of charity, but love is at the very least consistent of these things.  The love Paul speaks of, the love that he teaches must accompany faith for justification, is a love that works.  The Church does not teach that this is human love, but, as the Council of Trent and the Scriptures teach, is the love of God poured out into man’s heart.  It is itself Grace, but it is a Grace which must be accepted, and without which man cannot be justified.



Adam and Eve had faith, but not the kind of faith Paul speaks of.  They had the faith of intellectual belief.  They believed in God, but they did not know Him, because they did not have a faith open to Love.   This intellectual belief is the same as James teaches concerning the demons, writing, “even the demons believe – and shudder!” (2:19)  As John teaches in his first epistle, God is love (4:8), so to have love is to know God.  They had belief in the same way as the demons which James teaches about when he writes, “even the demons believe – and tremble” (2:19).  The demons believe God, and they believe in God, but they do not love God, so they do not know God, so they are not justified.  This was true also, at least for some time, of Adam and Eve after the fall.  Abraham believed God, and he loved God, so he was justified.  The same is true of Moses.  They were the friends of God. 



This is also, consequently, why the Catholic Church is so concerned with the commandments and with sin.  John writes that when we know God, we keep His commandments (1 John 2:3-4).  Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  St. Paul also stressed the importance of keeping the commandments, for this same reason.  Just as he wrote that in Christ, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love,” (Galatians 5:6), he also writes that “neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19).  Thus we see that when Paul speaks of faith, he means a faith that loves, and thus a faith that is obedient, not an intellectual belief alone, and so he says that Christ seeks “the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:6, 16:26).    



Paul’s teaching here both clears up an interesting confusion that seems to exist in his writings, and enlightens us as to the connection works have to love that causes James to write so highly of them.  On the one hand, the apostle says that Christians are not bound to a law on several occasions (see Romans 7:4, Galatians 2:19, and others).  On the other hand, he also writes that the law is not cancelled but upheld.  For example, Romans 3:31 he writes, “do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”  The harmony between these two verses lies in his teachings that by loving, we keep the law.  “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8), he commands, and again “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).  Here he quotes Jesus, who gave as the two commandments that we must follow to love God, and to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40), teaching that these two commandments encompass all that the Law and prophets had taught before.  Paul explains the same thing in Romans 13:9-10: “The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”  James agrees with Paul, writing, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well” (2:8).  If love is in keeping the commandments, this is why James writes that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (2:17).  One who loves will express that Love in works, and so a faith without works is a faith without Love, and a faith without Love is dead. 



Thus, the Church teaches that Love is required for salvation, along with faith, and that love of God requires the keeping of the commandments.  The Council of Trent presents this very concisely in the 7th chapter of the sixth Session of Trent:


For faith without hope and charity [Love] neither unites a person perfectly with Christ, nor makes one a living member of his body.  Therefore, it is rightly said that “faith without works is dead” [James 2:17] and unprofitable, and that “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision not uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love” [Galatians 5:6, 6:15].  This is the faith which, in keeping with apostolic tradition, the catechumens ask of the Church before reception of baptism when they ask for “the faith that gives eternal life,” a life which faith without hope and charity cannot give.  Hence, they immediately here Christ’s words: “If you would enter into life, keep the commandments” [Matthew 19:17]. 


However, it is important to stress the Church’s teaching that this Love, and in fact even the faith that man has in Christ, is no doing of his, but of Grace alone:


…nothing that precedes justification, neither faith nor works, merits the grace of justification; for ‘if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise (as the same apostle says) grace would no longer be grace [Romans 11:6] (Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 8). 


It is only by the Holy Spirit pouring the Love of God into man’s heart (see Romans 5:5) that man gains it, and it is only as a free gift that it is given, based on the merits of Jesus Christ on the cross.  As Trent teaches here, Faith too is a gift of Grace, a virtue which man cannot have without Grace.  Jesus teaches this when He says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).  In 2 Corinthians 4:13, the apostle Paul writes of the “Spirit of faith,” as it is the Spirit which gives faith to us.  As has been presented above, the same apostle teaches that faith is a gift, rather than the doing of man, in Ephesians 2:8-9. 



Thus, the Church teaches that faith alone is insufficient for salvation.  The interesting thing is that many Protestants today agree with the general understanding of the Catholic Church, even if not in its entirety.  One phrase common in Protestant circles is that faith alone saves, but not a faith that is alone.  The statement seems to fall short logically, because it faith alone by definition excludes any other factor with which it would not be alone.  It also falls short Biblically, because both Paul and James indicate that faith, in the sense of intellectual belief, is not sufficient without love.  This is why a far more accurate Protestant concept of the matter is one which holds that faith, if it is an intellectual belief, is insufficient, whereas faith, if it is a living faith that works, is.  Perhaps the most accurate understanding in Protestantism is the need to accept Jesus Christ into one’s heart, as the Church teaches, and the Scriptures provided demonstrate, that salvation requires the Love of God to be poured into the heart by the Holy Spirit, which can only happen when one willingly consents.  There are still differences, many subtle, between the two understandings, and it is very important that these are not ignored, as Paul taught that any erroneous gospel is accursed (see Galatians 1:8).  It is fitting, then, to end with the words of God, and the words of Peter, the prince of the apostles, as he encourages us on the journey of faith:


For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-11, emphasis mine). 



God Bless,